Oprah Talks to the Central Park Jogger
Oprah: You keep fighting.
Central Park Jogger: But I haven't done it alone. I gained strength from all the support, loving, and caring I received.
Oprah: Has it been a long road back?
Central Park Jogger: When you stay in the moment, the road back doesn't seem quite as long, especially when you have unconditional love from your family. I've been surrounded by that love, which has given me a lot of strength.
Oprah: Does it bother you to be referred to as the Central Park jogger?
Central Park Jogger: I'm more than the Central Park jogger—that's just a name. But I understand that's how people know me, and that's okay with me.
Oprah: Why have you decided to come forward and tell your story now?
Central Park Jogger: For a long time I've been thinking about how I can use my recovery to help others. I have recently started to talk to some groups, and the response has been rewarding. I was talking at a rehab hospital to some clinicians and former and current head-injured patients about the power of mindfulness and my recovery. At the end of my talk, a gentleman in a wheelchair raised his hand and said, "I was in a coma for three and a half months, and the doctors didn't think I was ever going to walk again—but seeing you has been so inspiring. Were you ever in a wheelchair?" I said, "Yes." Then he said, "I'm going to get out of this wheelchair." That made me feel so good.
Oprah: It squeezes your heart. Though you've spoken to various groups, you still don't want to fully reveal your identity, right?
Central Park Jogger: I'm just not ready for that. It doesn't feel right.
Oprah: So you're taking little baby steps.
Central Park Jogger: That's it—baby steps.
Oprah: I'm so grateful you've taken the first step with me. Thank you for your trust.
Central Park Jogger: Thank you, Oprah.