published Sunday, October 28th, 2012

'Central Park Jogger' to speak for Siskin

FOR TICKETS

Tickets are $75 for the Feb. 13, 2013, Siskin luncheon. To purchase, visit www.SiskinRehab.org or call 423-634-1208.

The famed "Central Park Jogger," who survived a brutal rape and beating in New York City in 1989, will speak to patients at Siskin Hospital in February, and organizers of the event hope her story will be an example of how to overcome tragedy.

Trisha Meili was a 28-year-old investment banker when she was attacked during an evening run. After two men found her in a coma with 80 percent blood loss and a traumatic brain injury, doctors questioned whether she would live. The rape sparked national attention and outrage.

Media outlets referred to her as the "Central Park Jogger" and didn't report her name because she was a victim of sexual assault, but 14 years later she recalled her recovery in a memoir, "I Am the Central Park Jogger."

Since then she has spoken on a Katie Couric special, "The Today Show," "Dateline NBC," "Larry King Live," "The CBS Early Show," CNN and Fox News.

Her appearance will be part of an annual Possibilities Luncheon intended to raise money for patients who don't have insurance, Siskin spokeswoman Lindsay E. Wyatt said. Siskin helps patients rehabilitate from injuries, brain trauma or disabilities.

Over the 10 years of the Possibilities Luncheon, speakers have included Lee Woodruff, the wife of ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff, who survived a brain injury from a roadside bomb in 2005 in Iraq; Bonnie St. John, an amputee who was the first African-American to win medals in the Winter Paralympics as a ski racer; and Roger Crawford, the first person in U.S. history to play a Division I college sport with a severe disability.

"I am eager to let attendees know that whatever the challenge, we can do more than we ever thought possible," Meili said in a statement to the Times Free Press. "As I recovered from a traumatic brain injury with a new body and new mind, I was fortunate to be at a facility just like Siskin Hospital where a dedicated staff worked with me and my family to help me reach my goals and dreams."

The luncheon also will feature videos of Siskin patients who have had miraculous recoveries, said Wyatt.

"Love, courage and perseverance helped each person turn tragedy into triumph, as they discovered that life is full of possibilities," said Wyatt.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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