Lani Deauville, the woman listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Longest Living Quadriplegic left this world on Saturday, July 21st. To say she was an amazing woman is like calling the Atlantic Ocean a puddle.
I was so honored to be selected as the author for Lani’s memoir and as it turned out it was not only an honor, it was a genuine pleasure. Lani spent over a year with me, telling the stories of her life, sharing everything, holding back nothing. Together we traveled back through the mishaps of her childhood and the rebuilding of her life. Simply put, she was a woman who never gave in to defeat. To tell Lani she could not do something only challenged her to try harder. She overcame adversities that could easily fell the strongest and rose to heights greater than one might imagine. Lani once told me that the greatest handicap any person could have is the lack of belief in themself- Lani did not have the use of her legs or hands, but when it came to living life she had no handicap. .
At age seventeen, a diving accident left Lani a quadriplegic. This happened in 1953, when most people with spinal cord injuries died within weeks – but Lani not only willed herself to live, she lived a full, rich and happy life. She had a fabulous career, married the man of her dreams and raised a baby boy who has grown to be a man and is following in her giant footprints.
Lani’s story is one of amazement and adventure. It is a story of loving and being loved. It is a story of giving and receiving, of nature and nurture, of doing the impossible and then looking back to laugh at the odds. I cannot begin to say how much I will miss this amazing woman and if my writing of this article is not as crisp and clever as I usuallly try to be, it’s because it’s hard to see words through the tears.
Goodbye Lani. You will forever live in my Land of IS.
Life in the Land of IS…the amazing story of Lani Deauville, the world’s longest living quadriplegic Click here