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The Story Behind the Disabled Woman Featured in Budweiser's Super Bowl Commercial

On Superbowl Sunday, Budweiser aired a commercial called “Typical American,” featuring people performing both acts of kindness and amazing feats. One of the people highlighted is Hannah Gavios — a disabled woman who finished the New York Marathon in both 2018 and 2019.

According to her fundraising page, Gavios become disabled in 2016 after being attacked during a trip to Thailand. While running away from her assailant, she fell 150 feet off a cliff and landed on her back. She wasn’t rescued until eight hours later. Today, Gavios is partially paralyzed and walks with leg braces and a crutch.

A runner before her accident, Gavios first took on the challenge of “crutching” the New York Marathon in 2018. She used it as an opportunity to raise money for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a non-profit that funds spinal cord injury research and support.

Gavios’ story has been featured on Runner’s World, CNN and Yahoo Lifestyle. Great Big Story made a video about her after she completed her second marathon. In this video, she shared she was inspired to start running marathons after her sister showed her a picture of Amanda Sullivan, a marathon runner and amputee.

“Running now is not so different than the way it was before my accident,” she said. “I like to call it ‘crutching’ or ‘going out for a crutch.’ It just maybe looks a little different, but mentally it feels exactly the same.”

The few-second clip featured in the Budweiser commercial shows Gavios crossing the finish line at the 2019 New York Marathon, which she completed in just over 11 hours. She told CNN about her journey, “I always knew I was a strong person, but I didn’t know I was that strong. I also didn’t realize how much of a fighter I was.”

You can watch the full commercial here.