ADDISON – When a trainer asks Brandi Todd how an exercise feels, it's a question that carries more weight than it does at face value. Todd's undergoing a life transformation, one that started in 2010 when a man randomly plunged a knife into her back, severing 90 percent of her spine.
The attack left her paralyzed, but she refuses to let the brutality control her destiny.
"I can name five really bad things that happened out of all of this, but I can't even begin to name all the wonderful things," Todd said.
But why not start with the ability to stand up? Or the fact that she can do small squat exercises over and over again?
"This little movement is supposed to be impossible for someone like me, right?," she says from Project Walk in Addison.
Todd's name is listed on the board for every milestone she reaches. And as she works toward her ultimate goal of walking again, she's ready for more.
"I'm not done," she said. "I am not going to coast along here, there is more for me to do. There are other things I can conquer."
Her attack revealed a stronger Todd, a woman she says she didn't realize she could be. While most are inspired by her spirit, Todd says she's really just like the rest of us.
"I feel very unworthy of that word," she says. "If you guys only knew; I mess up three times before I get out of bed."
Her laughs and her sense of humor have carried her through the toughest of times. But as her brain and body continue to connect through hard work, she reminds us all to push harder and find out what's more to the person inside each of us.
"Sometimes we limit ourselves and say, this is it," she says. "You are much stronger than you think, smarter than you think. We all have more to give, we just don't do it all the time."
This is the second of a series of pieces on strong North Texas women. Yesterday, we profiled Anousheh Ansari, the first self-funded female space explorer. You can read that here.