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Brave Conquers Fear | A look back at moments of perseverance and beating the odds in 2021

11Alive has shared stories of resilience, strength, and kindness over the last 12 months.

ATLANTA — 2021 has proved to be a year of perseverance after last year's challenges and the many unknowns that came with the coronavirus pandemic. 11Alive has shared stories of resilience, strength, and kindness over the last 12 months.

The inspiration to overcome difficult moments connects us all. This year, 11Alive takes a look back at some of the people who have conquered their fears with bravery. 

Here's a look at some of stories we will share.

A journey to breaking a world record

The story of one young lady proves that things that don't seem possible can be. Bentley-Grace has spent her whole life overcoming the odds. She suffered a grade three non-resolving brain bleed in her first day of life, resulting in her diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy Spastic Quadriplegia.

"The doctors said she’d never walk, never talk, never eat without a feeding tube, and never breathe without oxygen," her father, Lee Hicks, previously told 11Alive. She's never taken a step, but was determined to run.

She had a chance to compete in the Boston Marathon on a wheelchair racing team. Her goal was to break a world record  --- she did just that. Read the previous story about her journey to get there.

A javelin impaled him, 2 years later he competed in the Olympics

Every Olympian has a story of strength and perseverance. Elija Godwin's stands out. He was doing backwards sprints at practice when he fell on a javelin in 2019 and it impaled him.  The spear pierced through Godwin's body, between his ribcage, through his lung and inches away from his heart. 

He didn't just think his career was over; he thought his life was, too. However, he got the chance to competed in the 2020 Olympic Games, which were delayed until 2021 due to the pandemic. Find out more on his story of perseverance here.

How a classical pianist, custom cabinet maker fights to recover after severing hand

Larry Austin, a classically trained pianist, started playing piano when he was four years old. The Loganville man has always worked with his hands and opened his custom cabinet business 42 years ago.

Last summer, Austin sliced his middle finger, pointer finger and thumb clean off his hand while working in his shop. However, that didn't stop him from playing music -- even after surgeons told him there were no guarantees. 

"I have perseverance and drive. And I am going to get my hand back. Through hard work," Austin said.

He's made adjustments to make it work - like how he holds a board - or how his fingers hit the keys.  Read about how far Austin has come here.

'Amazing Grace' | Mom's swimming tour honors daughter who died of cancer

Grace Bunke's mom is keeping her legacy alive. Vicki decided to do a swimming tour in 14 cities in honor of her daughter who was 14 when she passed away in 2018.

Grace found joy in swimming when cancer took away her first passion, running. When Grace eventually chose to stop chemotherapy, it was so she would have the strength to swim to raise money to help find a cure. Grace completed an open-water swim at Lake Lanier, and inspired hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations - as well as her mother's quest to keep the effort going.

Vicki had never been a swimmer, but learned how to do it after Grace passed, and the charitable effort through Swim Across America has continued. Here's a look back at when Vicki was preparing to conclude the five-month, 14-stop tour.

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