Victoria Riollano of Victory Speaks
Meet Talia...the one who inspires hope
When you meet Talia, you will immediately feel a joy you have likely never encountered. Energetic, spunky, and exuberant, she is a young lady like no other. However, few would know from her demeanor just how much she has overcome in her life so far.
In 2010, at five years old Talia’s life took an unlikely turn. Talia had been living in Germany with her family due to her father being in the Army. On November 8th 2010, Talia skipped to school, smiling and vibrant as always. However, during gym class she collapsed.
Upon arriving there, she was rushed into surgery to have a craniotomy, where surgeons removed half of her skull to relieve pressure on her brain. After many tests, doctors told her parents that vasculitis had traveled through a hole in her heart, clogged 3 major arteries and was currently still traveling through the right side of her brain.
At this point, doctors said she would never talk, walk, or eat on her own ever again.
This was only the second case they had seen in Germany, so they decided to send Talia to Walter Reed Medical Center. While Talia was in ICU, her mother was 9 months pregnant and gave birth to her third child at the same time. This would cause her not to be able to travel with Talia as she was transported to D.C. Her father and older brother took a medical flight with Talia. As Talia arrived at Walter Reed, they placed her on regiment of Chemo therapy to try and kill the vasculitis attacking her brain.
Despite what the doctors said, her parents still believed she could overcome the effects of this stroke. Her father took stuffed animals and would hold Talia while she threw them against the wall.
Before long, she could stand on her own and take a few steps. This strong willed little girl was starting to prove every doctor wrong.
After about a month, doctors decided to send her to National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington D.C. There she would be in an intense rehabilitation to try and regain mobility of her hemiplegic left side. Talia would spend the next 6 months fighting to walk, talk, and move. They issued her a wheel chair, she hated it and tried to walk everywhere she could. She refused to quit, refused to settle for her current reality, and fought every day to regain mobility. Talia continued Chemo therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. The vasculitis became paralyzed, and stopped spreading. As she was released from Nation Rehabilitation Hospital, they asked her if she wanted to keep her wheelchair, with sass, she said
“No! I will walk and if I can’t my daddy will carry me.”
It has been 7 years since her stroke, and though she still cannot use her left arm.. she can run, eat, talk, jump, and do almost EVERYTHING she once did!
She is in all district chorus, and is an honor roll student. Talia is an avid artist, and loves to draw and paint. She attends classes weekly to help her become a better artist, as her dream is to be an art teacher when she gets older. Soon, Talia will be applying to do the special Olympics, and compete in swimming, running, and bowling. God has given Talia strength in the midst of a storm that seemed impossible to overcome. Talia volunteers at Top Soccer, which is a soccer league for special needs children. Whatever the kids want to do, she does with them for ninety minutes every Saturday morning.
Though she still must fight daily, she has never said quit, and continues to improve.
She inspires everyone she is around and gives us all no reason to complain, but every reason to fight.
For Talia victory is “like a fighter, like someone who has proved people wrong. Someone who showed others they could succeed regardless of their situation.”
Talia’s miraculous healing, her will to defy the “doctor’s report”, her joy that illuminates, makes her our FIRST Little Lady of Victory! Talia exemplifies what it means to stay in the fight, yet recognize the God is fighting your battles!
May you walk fearlessly today and when you feel all else has failed remember Talia’s words… “My daddy will carry me.” No matter what you are facing today, no that your Father in heaven is with you and He will carry you through every circumstance.
Congratulations Talia! You wear victory well!
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