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Don’t Miss Locked In, the True Story of NH Native, Victoria Arlen, Who Teaches Us to Persevere

At age 11, New Hampshire native Victoria Arlen, a precocious triplet, had the world ahead of her until she began to suffer from an illness that baffled her doctors. She eventually fell into a coma for three years, during which she regained consciousness but was unable to communicate to those around her — she was “locked” inside her own body. Arlen overheard doctors saying she was a goner, but thankfully her parents remained optimistic and encouraging without ever knowing she was even aware of their presence.

In 2009, Arlen was able to make eye contact with her mother who asked her to blink if she understood her. She then began her seemingly insurmountable fight to learn how to speak, eat, and move again. When she couldn’t walk, her brothers showed her she could still swim by throwing her into a pool as brothers are apt to do. In 2012, when she was 17 years old — six years after falling ill — she competed in the Paralympics in London, where she won three silver medals and a gold, setting a world record in the 100-meter freestyle race. Determined to recover the use of her legs, Arlen enrolled in a program called Project Walk and ended up performing on Dancing With The Stars.

Arlen’s inspirational story is thoughtfully captured in Locked In, the 30 For 30 Short directed by Alison Ellwood. The film features moving testimony from Arlen’s mother, father, brothers, and coach, and highlights how Arlen, who now works for ESPN, was able to achieve her goal of switching the word “impossible” to “I’m possible.”

“I was drawn to Victoria Arlen’s story as it represented the power of love in a family determined to never give up, despite the odds,” says Edgewood.

Locked In will be screening at the New Hampshire Film Festival on Sunday, October 14 at 3:45 at The Music Hall. Get your passes here!

 

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