Lockport teen is defying obstacles step by step

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Lockport teen who suffered a traumatic brain injury is defying obstacles step by step.

Selena Torres is hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail for five days. On Thursday, she started the first part of it.

News 4 caught up with her and asked her how excited she was to begin this journey. Selena smiled and said, “I cannot believe it! Who would have thought I would have the chance to do this. In a million years! Who would have thought!”

This is very special to her because she was in a fatal car accident on Saunders Settlement Road in Niagara County in 2008. Her mother died. Selena suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to begin a long road to recovery. She had to relearn how to walk and talk.

“I’m really thankful for the people who helped me,” Torres said.

Today she has limited use of her left side, but that’s not stopping her from hiking roughly 20 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

“They weren’t sure if she was going to make it. The fact that she’s doing this and proving to everyone that it doesn’t matter if she has a brain injury. It’s an inspiration for all of us,” Nick Cacciotti, a life quality coach at People Inc. said.

Cacciotti and other life quality coaches helped Selena prepare for this. They hiked local trails to get ready.

Selena even had to go through hiking tests because she’s carrying a 40-pound bag during the hike, and climbing and descending mountains up to 3 thousand feet.

During practice, Selena fell a couple of times, but she kept telling herself — don’t…give…up.

“I’m dedicated. And determined. And hard working,” she said.

The 19-year-old from Lockport is going on the trip with four life quality coaches and six others with development disabilities.

People Inc.’s Crossing Borders Western New York group put the hike together. Their goal is to defy stereotypes and break down barriers.

Selena and the others are doing that every day. Step by step.

“I don’t give up,” she said.

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