Sonoma Speaker Series will bring Victoria Arlen to the Hanna Boys Center stage on Monday, March 4.
Arlen is a triplet, actress, speaker, model, dancer, ESPN Sportscaster – and 2012 Paralympic Games gold medalist.
In 2005, at age 11, Arlen came down with two rare neurological disorders: transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. According to a press release from the Speaker Series, she fought for her life for five years, including four years in a vegetative state. Though she eventually regained consciousness, she was still prone to seizures – at times suffering from them for more than 20 hours per day. She was paralyzed from the waist down for a decade.
Despite her illness, Arlen was determined physical therapy could help her regain her body movement. In 2010, she returned to the pool and started swimming again for the first time in over 10 years. She went on to qualify as a swimmer for the 2012 London Paralympic Games and won a gold medal (setting a world record) and three silver medals.
Not long after the Paralympics, she became one of the youngest on-air hosts hired by ESPN.
In 2016, she regained her ability to walk and in 2017, she competed on Dancing with the Stars and, after nine weeks, made it to the semi-finals.
The Sonoma Speaker Series’ “In Conversation with Victoria Arlen” starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4, at Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive. A VIP reception begins at 5:45 p.m.
Tickets are on sale atsonomaspeakerseries.com/upcoming-events.