‘Dancing with the Stars’ Victoria Arlen’s ‘inspirational’ foxtrot celebrated her recovery from nearly fatal illness [WATCH]

“When I think about ‘Most Memorable Year’ I don’t know if I necessarily have a year,” said Paralympian Victoria Arlen about her approach to “Most Memorable Year Night” on “Dancing with the Stars.” This theme night is all about commemorating a year of special importance in the contestants lives’, but much of Arlen’s life was taken from her by illness. She explained, “When I was 11 I developed two incredibly rare neurological conditions. They targeted my brain and my spinal cord. Basically my body started attacking itself … I went from being a normal and happy kid to a complete vegetable.”

Despite a poor prognosis, she gradually recovered, though she still struggled to get back the use of her legs. She finally learned to walk again about a year ago. “It took me 10 years to get back what was taken away from me. This is the first year that I can finally just live.” Her foxtrot inspired by her miraculous comeback was one of the highest-scoring performances of the night. Watch it above.

Judge Len Goodman called her “inspirational” and added, “That was a joyful, lovely experience and you should inspire the whole of America.” Carrie Ann Inaba added that she felt “honored” to watch it, and “the chemistry between [Arlen and pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy] is so tender and beautiful. Well done.” Arlen received straight 9s for a total of 27 out of 30. That was her highest score of the season so far and placed her second on this week’s leaderboard behind Jordan Fisher, who was nearly perfect (29 out of 30).

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