Sarah Todd Hammer, 19 years old, is a three-time published author, dancer, speaker, model, and activist.
When Sarah Todd was eight years old, she developed an excruciating head and neck ache during ballet class, which was so severe she was in tears. Upon deciding to go home early from class, her arms and hands fell limp at her sides, paralyzed. Her mother hurried her to urgent care, where she was flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital. After receiving no treatment for six hours, the doctor sent her home, telling her to return the next morning if she was not better. The next morning, Sarah Todd awoke unable to move her legs, and later that afternoon, she was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis (TM), a neuro-immunological disorder that damages the spinal cord, but her diagnosis has since been changed to Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a subset of TM.
After spending two months in the hospital and regaining the ability to walk, Sarah Todd was dedicated to recover so she could do what she loved most: dance. When she stood on her tip-toes in therapy, she knew she would be able to dance again. At home, she began choreographing her own dances, making the movements suitable for her partially paralyzed arms and hands. This newly discovered hobby of choreography has taken her a long way, with her dances gaining over 95,000 views on YouTube.
In 2012, Sarah Todd began writing her first autobiography, 5k, Ballet, and a Spinal Cord Injury, with her best friend and Transverse Myelitis patient Jen Starzec. The book was published in 2013, and the girls have since published a sequel, Determination, in 2016, and the final book in the trilogy, Up and Down, in 2018!
In 2014, Sarah Todd met One Direction on her Make-A-Wish trip, where she gave Harry Styles her first book. She has also met Bethany Hamilton, Ali Stroker, Chris Ulmer, Maddie Ziegler, and Mackenzie Ziegler, and been recognized by author John Green.
Sarah Todd has been featured in Seventeen Magazine, J-14 Magazine, Girls' Life Magazine, and Potential Magazine. She has also been named the Rockettes' Dancer of the Week and dancer Nia Sioux's Role Model of the Week, as well as been named Amazing Kids! Magazine's Amazing Kid! of the Month. She writes articles for several news publications and speaks on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is a model for the Runway of Dreams Foundation and walked in the Runway of Dreams Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week modeling adaptive clothing in 2019.