For first time since '03, senator walks in Pa. capitol

October 12, 2010 5:00:21 PM PDT
It was an emotional and inspirational day in Harrisburg on Tuesday as State Senator Tina Tartaglione, a Democrat from Philadelphia, took her first steps in the Senate since being paralyzed in a boating accident seven years ago.

After the accident, Tartaglione couldn't feel anything from the waist down.

Although her spinal cord was severely injured, it wasn't severed, so doctors say it was possible she could walk again.

However, it would take a lot of work.

The senator vowed she would do it, and now she proved her perseverance.

It was a standing ovation for Tartaglione as she lifted herself out of her wheelchair and took her first steps towards her senate seat since 2003.

Tartaglione, has been wheelchair dependant since a boating accident in Atlantic City in 2003. Five years ago, the senator talked exclusively with action news about that accident. It left two of her vertebrae in her spine crushed and her nerves badly damaged.

"What happened is the wake that came up from the boat, and I came crashing down," Tartaglione said in 2005. "I had no feeling from the waist down. No feeling or sensation."

The senator vowed then she'd walk again, despite the odds.

On Tuesday the entire Pennsylvania Senate and even some former colleagues, who made a special trip to Harrisburg, witnessed her stand and walk across the Senate floor after what she calls her long and challenging journey.

"These people have stood behind me through my worst days and my best, through disappointment and discovery, through setbacks and successes," Tartaglione said on Tuesday.

Tartaglione says she owes her success to her family and her team of Philadelphia doctors and nurses. Her doctors say her achievement is nothing short of a miracle.

"I've got to play the hand God gave me. It's not a road I would pick, but I'm a better person for it," Tartaglione said.

The senator said she also did this for her father. He died after her accident and she promised him she would walk again.

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