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Lockport woman with brain injury hiking Appalacian Trail

Posted at 5:06 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 08:18:38-04

The courage of a young woman has taken her to heights she's never thought possible. Selena Torres is a 19-year-old from Lockport who suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car crash that killed her mother.

"God wanted me to live," said Torres when reflecting on the crash. "I remember that car headlights were coming at me on my side."

She was in the car with her mother and a friend on a winter day in 2008. The three were headed to get a bite to eat when Torres' mother lost control of the car, swerving into oncoming traffic.

"My Mom was in the driver's side but she died and I lived," said Torres.  

After the crash Torres had to relearn how to walk, read, write and express emotion again. Despite those challenges she felt compelled to do something she's never done before. 

"She wants to show the world that her disability isn't going to slow her down," said Nick Cacciotti a life quality coach for People Inc. "She's really motivated to do this hike to show people that."

Torres is heading to Vermont Thursday morning for a five day hike on the Appalachian Trail. The trip is part of People Inc's Crossing Borders WNY program.

"I think that they forget the fact that they have disabilities, which is the way it should be and People Inc is just an avenue to help them express themselves and to live life a little bit more," said Cacciotti.

Torres will hike with six other people with developmental disabilities and four life quality coaches.

Torres said, "I just want to know in myself that I can do something this huge."

When asked what she thought her Mom would say Torres said, "she would be proud of me."

Wednesday morning she took her last practice hike at Amherst State Park and said she can't wait to tell her dad and siblings about Vermont.

"He's never been on a hike but he's a hard worker so I'm a hard worker and I can do this," said Torres.