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Woman finished rappel 4 years after starting

(Marc Weaver, KSL-TV)


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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ST. GEORGE — The only way to finish something is to start.

For Brittany Fisher, that meant finishing a rappel down Cougar Cliffs in St. George.

It's been on her mind for four years, because it was four years ago to the day, she started the rappel that changed everything.

"I'm just ready to live a normal life and not let this hang over me, not let this injury define me and hold me down," said Fisher.

Fisher was a student at Utah State University when she and some friends decided to visit St. George during spring break and go rappelling in the middle of the night.

Something went wrong.

Fisher hit the ground a few seconds — and about a hundred feet — later.

"It was a rough night," said Mike Thomas with Washington County's Search & Rescue team. "The outcome was uncertain. Even after we put her on lifeflight, I couldn't wait for the next day to find out if she was stable in the hospital."

Fisher's legs were shattered, and doctors told her she probably wouldn't walk again, but she was alive.

So when Fisher told Thomas about a year ago she wanted to finish what she started, he started planning to make it happen.

"Our guys are all volunteer, and I started making phone calls to see who wanted to do this for her, and you know how many 'no's' I got? Zero," said Thomas.

Saturday morning, that same team that rescued her, in a way, helped save her.

"I was pretty scared at the top," said Fisher. "But I knew I could do this. I can't out into words what I feel for every single one of them who took the time to help me do this."

The woman who was told she wouldn't walk again was now flying.

Two rescuers rappelled down with her, while others held ropes above and below, making sure she was safe.

"I was up half the night wondering, 'What if we can't make it happen? What if I forgot something?' Her safety was our responsibility," said Thomas.

However, about 15 minutes after she started, Fisher made it the ground.

Her parents were down there waiting for her.

They came from Illinois to be a part of this and noticed something in her change as soon as she touched the ground.

"I think part of this is she had to come back and conquer this the right way," said Bryan Fisher, Brittany's father.

Now, after finishing, Fisher feels she can finally start living the rest of her life.

"I really feel at this point, like, free of it all," she said. "I'm healed in every other way. My legs aren't going to be perfectly healed in this life, but everything else, I've definitely conquered and overcome. I think this kind of helped me finish claiming this experience."

Contributing: Marc Weaver

Photos

Alex Cabrero

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