Portrait Project


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Alicia Yoon

I fell in love when I was eight. I flew off the 1-meter springboard for the first time and my heart burst with excitement. I knew then that I would dedicate my life to diving. For ten years, I devoted hours daily to perfecting jumps, somersaults and twists. The thrill of each soar kept me going, until one day I crashed. An accident left me handicapped. I sobbed bitterly as hopes built over the years were taken from me overnight.

During my time in a wheelchair I began to appreciate my great fortune. I had loving parents, supportive friends, and an unrelenting therapist who persevered for me. They pointed me to other possibilities in life, and helped me see my other capabilities when I had given up. With their strength bolstering mine, I fully regained use of my legs. Most importantly, I gained the courage to look up even when I would fall down as I relearned how to walk. I learned how to keep hoping against the odds. And that's made all the difference.

I want to make a difference — I want to look up and hope for others who have given up.

— Alicia Yoon