Woman paralyzed in crash completes Master's degree, teaches dance

(Kristen Hampton | WBTV)
(Kristen Hampton | WBTV)

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Twenty-eight-year-old Hannah Martin is a perfect example of perseverance in a situation where it isn't easy.

Ten years ago, just a few months after she graduated from East Gaston High School, Martin was in a car crash that nearly took her life.

"I was just a crazy teenager, and I was speeding excessively," Martin said of the accident that spun her car around and slammed it into a tree, crushing her spine.

She is paralyzed from the neck down. She can't walk or use her arms. But what you don't see when you look at Martin is a woman who "can't."

Instead, she offers an inspiring picture of just what you can do when you are determined.

"It's just so important to know that even when you are in a position like this, you can still do everything everybody else does. You just have to do it a little differently," Martin said.

A dancer almost from birth, Martin was devastated to find out she'd likely never walk again. Martin's mother operates a dance studio out of their Mt. Holly home, so her passion never was too far away.

"I didn't go into the studio for a long time after the accident," Martin said.

Now, she teaches classes almost every day.

"I don't know - I think it's just, I guess I did it for so long and I've been working with some of these girls for so long, I guess they can read my mind," Martin said.

On Saturday, she'll also graduate with a Master's degree in counseling from Wake Forest.

It's a full plate for a woman doctors said might not even wake up from her accident.

She's alive and well, and proving daily that determination can move mountains.

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