Inspiration Report

Would you keep rock climbing after losing a leg?

Christa Brelsford was a 25-year-old volunteering in an adult and child literacy program near Port-au-Prince, Haiti when the earthquake happened.

Christa and her brother, Julian, were on the second floor of a building when they felt the earthquake.  As they exited the building, Christa fell and became trapped underneath the building’s rubble.  Her right leg was crushed and nearly cut off, though Christa didn’t realize this until much later.  “I was so focused on not panicking and staying alive and figuring out what needed to be done to get myself out of there, I didn’t worry about it right then.”  (  Having grown up with earthquake drills in Anchorage, Alaska, she was focused on keeping her head safe and staying alive.

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After an hour and a half, Christa was finally freed of the rubble and rushed to a nearby U.N. mission for medical assistance, her leg in a makeshift tourniquet.  After her leg was bandaged more, she was flown to a hospital in Miami for better medical attention, though the doctors determined part of her right leg, below her knee, had to be amputated.

Christa, who is a Ph.D. student at Arizona State University, realizes how lucky and blessed she was to be one of the earliest Haiti survivors to receive medical care. 

Friends and family also rallied around Christa by starting a donation page, Keep Christa Climbing, to help pay for her medical bills and get her a prosthetic leg.  A Facebook page around Keep Christa Climbing has also provided support and helped Christa gain a prosthetic leg specifically geared toward her love for rock climbing.

The grad student is also passing forward the blessings she has received.  She started a foundation, Christa’s Angels, to help the Haitians who saved her life during the earthquake.  The foundation gathers donations to support Heads Together Haiti in rebuilding schools and increasing the education of young Haitians.   Christa will keep scaling the impossible and climbing up in life.


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