Personifying Determination: Gabby Giffords
The story of Congresswoman Gabrielle (“Gabby”) Giffords’ brave recuperation from her very public brush with death on January 8, 2011, is well known to most Americans. She was seriously wounded at a public “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson, Arizona.
What is less well known is that a few months after the shooting, Gabby was diagnosed with hydrocephalus as a result of her brain trauma, and received a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. Today, she continues to work hard at her recuperation while staying deeply engaged in the public forum as a book author and respected public policy expert on a variety of important subjects.
Despite the trials associated with a long recovery, Gabby continues to serve as an inspiration to people across the globe dealing with challenging health issues. With the support of her husband, Navy Captain Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut (commander of the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour), she shares her determination and indomitable spirit at every opportunity. In fact, when Captain Kelly spoke to the attendees of HA’s 2012 National Conference on Hydrocephalus, he concluded his presentation by pulling out a handwritten note addressed to the audience by Gabby. She apologized for not being able to attend in person, and shared her message that giving up is never an option, asking everyone there to pledge to “Fight! Fight! Fight!”