14 Stories of Overcoming the Odds
They survived hijackings, plane crashes and deadly diseases. Look back at their unforgettable stories.
Abandoned As a Child
In 2000, Oprah Show guest Kelly told viewers how she survived abandonment, a plane crash and leukemia—all before she turned 12. As a baby, Kelly was left on the side of the road in Vietnam by her parents. She had a short stay in a local orphanage, and then, in 1975, she was part of Operation Baby Life—a program that evacuated thousands of babies from Vietnam. Kelly was placed on a plane destined for the United States, but her journey did not go smoothly. The plane she was on crashed, killing 150 passengers. "I really don't know why I was chosen to be one of those survivors. I feel incredibly lucky, and I feel like I've gotten a lot of second chances," Kelly says.
Kelly was eventually adopted by a couple in Seattle, but the obstacles did not stop there. At age 11, she was diagnosed with leukemia. With fight and determination, Kelly overcame her disease and went on to become a healthy and successful adult. "These obstacles that had happened in my life gave me strength and fueled my motivation to live and to succeed and to go on," Kelly says.