SCI Superstar: Tatyana McFadden

They say our early years have a strong effect on who we become, and this is certainly the case for US Paralympian Tatyana McFadden. Until the age of 6, Tatyana was living in a Russian orphanage walking on her hands because there were no wheelchairs available and was known by the orphanage’s staff for her stubborn “I can do it on my own” personality.

A grim future no doubt, but her entire life changed in 1995 when her future adoptive mother Deborah McFadden, who was working for the United States government and was in Russia to disburse aid, met Tatyana while visiting her orphanage. She fell in love with her spirit, and even though she wasn’t thinking about adopting, she adopted Tatyana in hopes of giving her a true future.

Deborah was temporarily paralyzed for a year with Guillaine Barre Syndrome, so she personally understands the life of someone with a mobility disability, hence her desire to help Tatyana. To find out how Tatyana went on to become one of the most decorated wheelchair racers in the world after settling the United States, check out our post below. Read this post