Quadriplegic Mother of Twins – Dani’s Extraordinary Journey

June 30, 2023

Dani Izzie and her husband, Rudy, insist there’s nothing really extraordinary about how they’re raising their twin girls, Lavinia and Giorgiana, in rural Virginia. Double the fun always means double the chaos.

“I’ve had periods over the past two-and-a-half years where I’ve been very tired, just like any other new mom, you know?” Dani said.

Rudy laughed, “We’re just two normal people raising twins!”

But alongside their parenting challenges, are their personal challenges, Dani’s especially. She is quadriplegic, but her paralysis isn’t complete. Her hands are paralyzed, so her fingers don’t move individually, but she can move her wrists. “And my triceps specifically are paralyzed in my arms,” she adds, “but I can move my shoulders. And then my core, my abdominals, and my back muscles are paralyzed.”

Rudy said, “We adapt and do things probably different than other people do it. But Dani supports me, and I support her. It’s just … different.” 

Dani said, “There can be people around who say it’s not normal. And this is proof, ‘Well, yeah, it is.'”

Dani grew up outside Washington, D.C., and went to college in Italy. In 2009, when she was 23, she slipped on a bathroom floor and injured her neck, paralyzing almost everything from her chest down.

She said the first two years  of coping were the hardest, both physically and psychologically: “When you’re always thinking of how you’re gonna walk again, you’re living your life waiting.”

But there came a moment straight out of Hollywood when her life changed: one night, the film “Million Dollar Baby” was on TV in her acute rehab facility. In the movie, Hilary Swank plays a boxer who ends up with quadriplegia. So despondent over her situation, she asks her trainer (played by Clint Eastwood) to help take her own life.

Dani said, “Is this what my life is supposed to be? Like, be so devastated that I go die? Shouldn’t I try to get in a wheelchair? Shouldn’t I try to live? Shouldn’t I think about falling in love and getting married and having kids and pursuing a career?”

“I think the answer was really adapting to my life with a disability, and accepting that having a disability is not the end of the world.”

She met Rudy in 2016. “He was so easy to talk to. He didn’t have any qualms about my disability, so that was nice for once.”

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