My name is Dina Pestonji. At 29 years of age, I had a massive stroke requiring emergency brain surgery. When I woke up, I had no voice and couldn’t move the right side of my body. I had become an infant trapped in a womans body…
Through intensive rehabilitation, I (re)learned how to talk, walk and eventually regain all brain functionality. Seven months after my stroke I completed my very first duathlon and just 9 months after the stroke and being bedridden, I ran my 7th half marathon.
My experience as a stroke survivor taught me many things, but above all, it taught me that the struggles I faced throughout my recovery (and continue to face) are not unique – we ALL face our fears on a daily basis and must work to overcome them. I was able to see my way through this immense challenge, and that success has made me a stronger, BETTER person overall. I now know – truly – that I am capable of anything I put my mind to. What an amazing feeling!
I now speak to various audiences including schools, companies and associations on how to overcome ANY challenges they face – personal and professional. I empower and motivate others to tackle their challenges head-on by taking that first step forward.