Woman Finds Strength To Walk When Others Said It Was Impossible

10:22 AM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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Irmo, SC (WLTX) -- An Irmo woman born with Cerebral Palsy is defying the odds after doctors told her she would never walk.

Amy Roark is not one to back down from a challenge. "The drive, to make myself a complete person," said Roark.

But the challenges she encounters are unlike the ones you or I have to face. Roark has spent the past forty-one years in a motorized wheelchair.

"I was born like I am."

Like wearing an invisible straitjacket, her arm and leg movement is restricted by cerebral palsy.

"My motivation to do just about anything I do is somebody telling me I can't," said Roark.

The question of what motivates a person like Amy Roark is not hard to hard to answer. Especially when doctor after physical therapist tell her this: "I don't know why you want a full body x-ray Ms. Roark, you'll never walk anyway. That made me so mad. I was red as a stoplight. "

That's when Roark took matters into her own hands when she went from physician to personal trainer. For nearly a year now, she has been working out at this gym three-four times a week. Lifting weights, and doing things, she's never before been able to do.

Her trainer Vassil Karamanov has helped her lose twenty pounds, strengthen muscles, set new personal records.

"It's not uncommon for people to come up to and say, who are you? You motivate me! Said Karamanov. "She loves what she's doing. That's why she's getting results because she enjoys working out. She enjoys how I push her."

With his help Roark can Raise arms above head, Use a fork and feed herself, but most importantly walk.

"So now we are going to walk the gym. Just here for support," said Karamanov. "It was a standing ovation pretty much. Everybody started clapping for her. I had tears in my eyes I couldn't believe it."

One step at a time Roark makes her way around the gym. Her parents, James and Arlene Derrick, are stunned by the progress she's made.

"I am just excited and thrilled that she has become motivated and is trying so hard to improve herself," said her father.

A year of hard work that is paying off, she can now open doors on her own and brush her teeth unassisted. Her message to those who see her?

"I just want other people to know that whatever other people think, no matter what doctors say or anybody else, if you want to do it you can do it," said Roark.

While she's followed her parents lead, doing as good as she can with only what she has, Roark is determined to make sure she doesn't lose focus of her true inspiration.

"There's only one person in this world that can put a limit on me and that's God."

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