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Mariela Meylan skiing downhill

“It's been very challenging.”

Mariela Meylan

2019​ Participant Bio

In 2004, Mariela Meylan was serving in the U.S. Army on patrol in the Kuwait desert. She was helping three fellow soldiers change a tire on their vehicle when they were struck by a passing vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver fled, and two of the four soldiers at the scene were killed. Meylan was immediately evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and by the time her family had arrived, she had fallen into a coma, in which she would remain for eight months.

The day after Christmas in 2004, she was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where doctors advised her parents that Meylan would likely not survive; but, her family knew there was still a lot of fight left in her.


“The doctors wanted to take her off life support,” said her mother, Lisette Meylan. “One day at Walter Reed, a psychologist made sure we knew she would never wake up. I cried that day. Then I thought, what the hell does he know?” The young soldier proved her mother correct.


After 10 years of physical rehabilitation, therapy and in-home nursing care, Meylan, now 39, can now walk with the aid of a cane. She is learning to sew, is an avid swimmer, plays piano and enjoys riding horses. Meylan said while walking her long road to recovery, she had to deal with others who doubted her abilities. “It’s been very challenging,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me I can’t do something, but I’ve shown them I can.”

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