Today we are happy to feature a post introducing Pascale Bercovitch, who will be speaking at the upcoming ADVANCE Conference. Pascale is a renowned Israeli Paralympic athlete, TV personality, film maker, best-selling author, international motivational speaker and corporate adviser. She has inspired more than half a million people through her speeches, many saying she changed their lives forever.
My story starts out rather tragically: At age 17 on my way to school, I fell under a train and lost both of my legs. During the eight hour rescue, awake and already aware of my new condition, I took the crucial decision that changed my life forever. When I awoke in the ER, my family and the medical staff were staring at me with an odd look… and calling me “disabled”. They began to plan a new life for me in a specialized hospice. But I had other ideas. Nothing could ever stop me again; not a train, social convention, my family or fear.
I grew up in a mixed Christian and Jewish family and very early on decided that my dream was to go to Israel to join the army and live as an Israeli. Six months after my injury, armed with only a suitcase, a wheelchair and $100, I flew alone to Israel. I had no family there, no language, no home, but a wonderful dream and the solid belief that nothing could stop me. I enlisted in the IDF and stepped into my new life.
After the army, I began a career as an international journalist, going from researcher to reporter to chief editor. Simultaneously, I began to challenge myself as an athlete. I trained as a swimmer for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and was a member of the Israeli Sydney Paralympics team in 2000. I finished 8th in rowing for Israel at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and took 8th place in handbiking at London 2012. One week later I competed in the Climbing World Championships in Paris for the first time, finishing in 4th place.
Today, I am a member of the Israeli Climbing National Team and the Paralympic National Team. My next goals are Gold in Handbiking at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and Gold at the Climbing World Championship in 2014. I am also a relentless extreme sport amateur, enjoying skydiving, waterskiing and surfing. Above all, I am a wife to Oz and a mother to Eden and Mica.
I have accomplished much but there is much more to be done. Nothing has stopped me until now and nothing will in the future.