On April 13, 2004, Melissa Stockwell lost her leg to an IED during a routine patrol in Iraq, making her the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War. This was just the beginning of her inspiring story of perseverance and triumph.
“I have had the chance to meet Melissa and hear her amazing story in person. In this book, Melissa shares insight on how she became a warrior and fought back to become the champion she is today. She is a great example of perseverance in the face of what appears to be insurmountable hurdles. Her love of country is strong and carries through her joining the military and representing Team USA in the Paralympic Games. A true champion in many ways.”—Jackie Joyner Kersee
“Melissa’s story of strength and courage is not only incredibly moving, it is a must-read for anyone facing any challenge. Clearly her passion for country and sport drives every one of her accomplishments. From a young gymnast like I was, to representing the United States in Paratriathlon, Melissa inspires us all with her story of overcoming unimaginable adversity and what it truly means to be unstoppable.”—Shannon Miller
Melissa Stockwell has been a restless force of nature from the time she was a little girl speeding around her neighborhood on her bike, to her tumbles and spills as a high-level gymnast and Olympic hopeful, to joining the ROTC in college as an outlet for her patriotism and love of America.
After 9/11, she was deployed to Iraq as a commissioned Army officer, where she suffered the injury that would change her life forever. After a long and challenging recovery at Walter Reed Hospital, she exercised her power of choice to channel her energy into competition, winning three Paratriathlon World Championships and medaling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Her journey weaves service to her country and the heartache of a painful divorce along with founding a successful nonprofit, launching a career in prosthetics, finding new love, and becoming a mother to two children. Along the way, she meets all the living American presidents and inspires others with disabilities—through a story that is riveting, moving, and an inspiration for anyone who would choose to live their life to the fullest.
About the Author
Born a patriot, Melissa Stockwell was the first female to lose a limb in active combat when a roadside bomb exploded under her vehicle while serving in Iraq. She considered herself one of the lucky ones, as she only lost her left leg and not her life. After receiving both a purple heart and a bronze star, she vowed to live her life for those who had given the ultimate sacrifice. After learning to walk again, Melissa went on to proudly become a two-time Paralympian, a three-time World Champion, and a Paralympic bronze medalist. She has received a number of accolades for her athletic success and has jaw-dropping moments, such as standing in a room with five presidents, sharing a dance with George W. Bush, and more. Melissa co-founded a nonprofit organization called Dare2tri which helps other athletes with physical disabilities get into the sport of triathlon. She also travels the world, sharing her story in hopes to inspire others and leave them with the notion that they have the power of choice regardless of what obstacles come their way. Her favorite job is being a mother to her two young kids, Dallas and Millie, and a wife to her husband, Brian. Melissa is a patriot in the truest sense and proves—time and time again—that we can all come out better on the other side of any challenge that comes our way.
"I have had the chance to meet Melissa and hear her amazing story in person. In this book, Melissa shares insight on how she became a warrior and how she fought back to become the champion she is today. She is a great example of perseverance in the face of what appears to be insurmountable hurdles. Her love of country is strong and carries through her joining the military and representing Team USA in the Paralympic Games. A true champion in many ways." — Jackie Joyner Kersee