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Caitlin Brown, 27 

Co-owner of Samaritans Walk

click to enlarge caitlin_brown.jpg

Scott Elmquist

Caitlin Brown walks the talk. With her father, she co-founded Samaritans Walk, which specializes in personal training for people who suffer from spinal cord injuries and other neuro-muscular disabilities. She has aided in the process of establishing her gym as the first official Paralympic powerlifting hub in the U.S. She's also Secretary of the United Spinal Association of Virginia and is a coach for the U.S. Paralympic powerlifting team.

Brown's path was revealed to her while working with her first client, who had sustained injuries that made him paralyzed from the waist down. He was told he would never walk again. But after years of hard work and dedication, Brown says her client was able to walk without any assistance. Each milestone reached at the gym was a dose of pure motivation.

You might say that Brown's sunny disposition is a natural complement for her work outside the gym, too. As a volunteer with Life Rolls On at Virginia Beach, she has given disabled Richmonders a chance to enjoy the ocean safely. She has also organized two cruise trips for disabled people, so that they can vacation in the Bahamas. "She wants everyone to feel included and like they can participate in any activity, not just in sport," says one colleague.

It's important to keep everything in perspective, Brown notes.

"If you think you've had a rough day, look at how hard these people work just to get through their daily routine," she says. "Sure, we all have a tough day every now and then, but never think you have it worse." 

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