Model: Deb Lewin

Born and raised in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, I also lived in Israel and South Africa, representing two countries in field hockey and squash. Political changes in Africa left me without a country. After ten stressful years, I became an American citizen, working as a videographer, paramedic, ropes challenge course instructor and Master Neuro-Linguistic Programmer.

In 1996, my car was broadsided by another vehicle. I call this “My Opportunity!” I sustained a traumatic brain injury, resulting in left side paralysis, impaired vision/hearing, spinal fusions, nerve surgeries, chronic pain, and was confined to a wheelchair! I was only 36 when it was recommended that I be placed in a nursing home – my family refused! They knew I carried Africa’s iconic “Tree of Life” in my heart – the baobab tree.

My greatest challenge became my greatest opportunity after I started riding horses at Equest. I got back my life and competed internationally on the USA Para-Equestrian Team. My story is the subject of my recently published book, One Brain Injury Will Change Your Mind!

I share my story so others will realize that my wheelchair and disability do not define me. I make a stand by being seated. Self acceptance is a major part of projecting our inner beauty and makes a bold statement. I wanted to be photographed on a road, with a baobab tree, as it is about this amazing journey I am creating and experiencing as an alternatively-abled woman.

“RideStrong through Life’s Journey!”
Be You. Be Bold. BeYOUtiful.


Photographed by Pam Showalter