Central Park Jogger shares story to help others

Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:44am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - About six months after Trisha Meili had been brutally beaten and raped while jogging in Central Park in a crime that shocked the nation she received a New York marathon medal in the mail from a man she had never met.

She credits that act of kindness and thousands more like it from family, friends and people around the world for her astounding recovery.

"A note came with it that said, 'This is for you as you come closer to finishing your own marathon,'" said Meili who has been known as the Central Park Jogger since the attack on an April evening 20 years ago.

The former investment banker has no memory of what happened that night or of the six weeks, including nearly two in a coma, that followed. Doctors doubted she would survive her extensive injuries, massive blood loss and brain trauma.

During her recovery she had to learn to walk, talk, use her hands again, and to cope with the emotional aftermath of a crime that symbolized urban lawlessness.

It took Meili 14 years to reveal her identity and write about her recovery in her 2003 book "I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility."

She decided to speak about her ordeal, and to focus on her healing and recovery, to help others who had been sexually assaulted or suffered brain injuries.

"I thought if I shared my story it might help others who are going through any kind of life challenge," she said ahead of the April 19th anniversary.   Continued...

<p>Pedestrians walk through Central Park on a warm spring day in New York April 2, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>