How DWTS's Victoria Arlen Recovered from Her Probably Season-Ending Harm

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Victoria Arlen is an ESPN character and former Paralympian swimmer who, at age 11, was recognized with a neurological situation and an autoimmune illness, which affected her spinal wire and left her in a vegetative state for 4 years. Arlen slowly regained the power to talk, eat, stroll, and transfer and now could be competing on season 25 of Dancing with the Stars — and is running a blog about her expertise on the ABC actuality present completely for PEOPLE. Observe Arlen, 22, and her companion Valentin Chmerkovskiy, 31, on Twitter!

Nicely, we had a little bit of a scare final week.

Within the remaining hours of rehearsal on Monday my proper facet spasmed and we weren’t positive if I used to be going to have the ability to dance. I’ve by no means been promised that any of my previous well being points received’t return, so any time I’m going by one thing like this, it’s terrifying. I used to be in excruciating ache however I nonetheless obtained on the market and did my greatest. The scores weren’t as excessive as I’d have wished them to be, however I’m simply completely satisfied that I used to be bodily in a position to get out on the dance ground.

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Victoria Arlen and Valentin Chmerkovskiy

Each elimination has been nerve-wracking, and it’s all the time onerous to see one in every of our buddies go dwelling — however the stress was on much more because it was the final elimination earlier than the semifinals. However Val and I made it by and we knew we had a tough week of labor forward of us.

Having gone by what I’ve gone by, I all the time need to pay shut consideration to what my physique is telling me, however that has been much more the case this previous week after Monday. Tuesday we took issues gradual whereas I form of re-calibrated, and by Wednesday, I used to be again within the rehearsal room in full power.

RELATED VIDEO: Trapped in Her Paralyzed Physique: How DWTS’ Victoria Arlen Survived Two Years Acutely aware Whereas Unable to Transfer


We’re doing two dances this week, and one in every of them is a recent routine devoted to my dad and mom. I all the time beloved watching the up to date dances on the present, and I can’t consider that I get to do one now! It’s so particular to get to honor my dad and mom as a result of they’re the rationale that I’m right here. I’m so glad I’ve the chance to thank them for by no means giving up on me.

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Our second dance can pay homage to [season 23 winners] Derek Hough and Amber Riley’s Charleston to “Bang Bang” by Derek and Amber actually crushed it — they usually went on to win that season — so I’m actually honored to get to pay homage to that, however it’s a number of stress.

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These dances have been actually difficult, however it’s the semifinals, and I really feel so blessed that I’ve bounced again and can provide the 110 % I wished to offer final week however simply didn’t have in me. I hope that each one reveals tonight.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (eight p.m. ET) on ABC.

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