Meet Kristy First. The aspiring entrepreneur is currently in the top 8% of the 4,000 contenders vying for the grand prize in Walmart’s “Get On The Shelf” contest with her patent pending gift wrap invention. The long two and half years it took her to perfect her WrapBags, while difficult, were nothing compared to the six years it took her to physically, mentally, and emotionally heal from an accident that left her paralyzed. But the wheelchair that Kristy is in for life does not define her. It is her spirit, fortitude and tenacity that make this mom and inventor a Woman You Should Know.

Thirteen years ago, Kristy’s life was right on track. She was a single, independent, active, 32 year old with a promising career in sales. But during the summer of 2000, all that changed in an instant. The cause? A horrific car accident on Florida’s I-95 interstate.

Kristy First with sistersKristy shared with WYSK, “I was on my way home from a dinner with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. It was raining super hard and a pick-up truck just appeared out of nowhere. It happened so fast and I went off the road. I was ejected from my car and it rolled over on top of me.”

The grisly wreck should have killed Kristy, but she miraculously survived. However, the injuries she sustained, specifically to her spinal cord, were catastrophic, leaving her unable to walk. She remained in the hospital for four months and required multiple surgeries, including a bone fusion and having two titanium rods permanently placed in her back.

Kristy also spent 14 months in a full body brace, undergoing countless types of therapy with her family by her side through it all.

She told us, “When I went back to my doctor to get the body brace off, he said, ‘What are you doing all this for? You need to find something meaningful for your life and get on with it.’”

It was then that she remembered a book that her friend had given her months before – The Miracle Man: The Life Story Of Joao De Deus by Robert Pellegrino-Estrich. Joao De Deus, internationally known as John of God, is a spiritual healing phenomenon who runs a healing center in the village of Abadiania, Brazil called Casa de Dom Inacio. It’s a place where people with critical illnesses and severe injuries go when doctors give them no hope. According to the John of God site, “It is estimated that he has treated, either directly or indirectly, up to 15 million people during the past 40 years.”

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