It took her over a year to complete, but stroke victim Mia Austin of Liverpool, England, who is paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak, authored a book using only the blinking of her eyes.
Due to be released April 27, the aptly named "In The Blink Of An Eye" describes Austin’s experiences and life after being a stroke victim.
“I must have woken on the morning of November 16, 2009, totally oblivious as to what was going to happen because I'd been to work, as usual, nothing different, followed by the gym where I did my normal workout,” the 29-year-old wrote in her book’s introduction. “I went straight in to tell my mum how badly I’d done (at the gym) and she replied ‘There’s always tomorrow’...”
She wouldn’t get the chance to improve upon her workout routine, she wrote, describing how the following day she had her stroke.
Her parents feared the worst: that she'd never wake up at all. She did end up regaining consciousness, but doctors discovered she was completely paralyzed.
Austin suffers from a condition called “locked in syndrome,” a neurological disorder that paralyzes an individual and renders them incapable of making any voluntary body movements other than moving their eyes. Victims of this syndrome have all the cognitive abilities they had before, but they cannot communicate without assistance.
To write her book, Austin used a special computer that tracked her eye movements and blinks to select letters on a spelling chart. The entire process was arduous, and took over a year to complete. But Austin proved her resilience in doing so.
She’s shown strength in other ways since her stroke, which happened almost nine years ago, as well. Austin has completed a criminology course through Open University, and she intends to take another course in criminal justice in the next year. She’s also gone bungee jumping and indoor skydiving.
Austin gives much of her time to help charity organizations, including living on the streets of Liverpool with the homeless. She also plans to visit orphanages in Ethiopia.
“I also want to support various charities because I have received help myself in the past,” she explained.
Austin probably never thought she’d be in the situation she finds herself in today. But she didn’t let that stop her from growing up to become an amazing woman, achieving the impossible, and even providing help for others when she can.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Eric Thayer/Reuters