Madeline Niebanck

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Young Stroke Survivor

From ICU to Bestseller

How Maddi Niebanck Turned Life's Hurdles into a Mindset Revolution

Maddi Niebanck, a Georgetown University alum, faced a life-altering moment just one week after graduation. Scheduled for brain surgery to remove an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), she experienced a massive stroke due to a burst blood clot. The journey led her from 15 days in ICU to rehab at Kessler Institute, where she transitioned from being unable to walk or use her left arm to taking steps with a straight cane.
Feeling disconnected from her peers who were entering the workforce, Maddi sought advice from her favorite Georgetown professor, Eric Koester. His counsel to chase her passion during this unexpected life pause led Maddi to author her first book, "Fashion Fwd: How Today's Culture Shapes Tomorrow's Fashion." Not only did writing serve as cognitive therapy, but it also allowed her to explore her new relationship with fashion post-stroke. Her second book, "Fast Fwd: The Fully Recovered Mindset," delves into her ongoing recovery journey, serving as a beacon for the brain injury community worldwide.
Embracing what she calls a 'fully recovered mindset,' Maddi doesn't compare her progress to her past capabilities. Instead, she celebrates her current state, acknowledging that recovery is a continual journey. As she navigates outpatient therapies and sets personal milestones, her message resonates: It's okay to have bad days; what matters is your willingness to adapt and evolve.
Maddi's story underscores the power of perspective and the potential for growth through life's challenges. Her goal? To inspire others that the journey, good or bad, doesn't define you—it's all about your mindset.
Flexibility and willingness to adapt and find new ways to do things… means fully recovered.
It’s a mindset.