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From Orphanage to Paralympics Tatyana’s inspiring story

Tanzim Taqrim

Tatyana McFadeen is one of the most embellished Paralympian ever. But she started off walking on her hand in a Russian orphanage. Tatyana didn’t know she was diagnosed with a disability until she came to the U.S. Tatyana McFadeen was born with Spinal Bifida. It is a birth defect that prevents the spinal cord from developing. She says, “Spinal Bifida is where you have a hole in your back, and usually surgery’s done immediately after birth, but for me that wasn’t the case. So it was a miracle that I survived and that I lived.” Tatyana’s birth mother wasn’t able to support her or get her the surgery she needed, so she left her at an orphanage in St. Petersburg. She was adopted after six years in orphanage by Deborah McFadeen while she was in a business trip in Russia. Tatyana moved to Baltimore and became obsessed with sports. She started training for the Paralympics. In 2004, she was qualified for the games in Athens, Greece. At age 15, she became the youngest member of team USA. She won silver and bronze medals for Wheelchair Racing before she even started high school. The 28 years old currently holds 7 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze, a total of 17 Paralympic medals.

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