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Story of Resilience: Aviva Drescher

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If you were six years old and had to have your left foot and ankle amputated after your leg was caught in a barn-cleaning machine’s conveyor belt, what would the rest of your life be like? Or, if you'd experienced a divorce, how would it affect you? Aviva Drescher has had both of these things happen to her, but they don't come close to defining who she is. Instead, her long list of achievements create a much bigger picture. You might say she has a "storied past," but that wouldn't be doing justice to the stories created by the life she's living.

She earned Bachelors' degree from Vassar College, a Master's in French Literature from NYU, and a Juris Doctorate from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. She married, had children, and divorced during that time. She met her now-husband, investment banker Reid Drescher, at a chance meeting in Bed Bath & Beyond, as both of their young children played together in the aisles. Now Reid and Aviva have a blended family with four children: Harrison, 10, Veronica, 9, Hudson, 4, and Sienna, 1.

Today, they live in New York, where she is a "part-time socialite, full-time mom." She serves on the advisory board of CancerSchmancer, a nonprofit started by her cousin, actress and cancer survivor Fran Drescher. It's mission is to empower  women to become savvy medical consumers, pay attention to their bodies, ask the right questions of the right doctors and, if diagnosed with cancer, be able to detect it in its earliest stages. She is also the official spokesperson for the One Step Ahead Foundation, which helps children with physical disabilities, particularly limb loss, build self-esteem and self-confidence through athletics.

“Being an amputee was not, and has never been, a dominating factor in my life,” Aviva says in an interview with the Foundation. She even chose to have another six inches of her left leg removed in 1997 to accommodate a newer, more lifelike prosthetic. “Aviva is the strongest, most resilient and brilliant person ever,” says her close friend, author Jill Kargman. “She’s warm and nurturing, but she doesn’t deal in BS. She tells it like it is. She’s everything a modern woman should be."

It's one thing to survive an amputation at a young age, or a divorce, or any other loss of something precious, without a chip on one's shoulder. It's definitely another thing to find the strength to seek other pursuits, other people that can become just as precious, if not more so. Such pursuits require hope and support. Aviva says this to offer hope to others, “Be honest and enjoy life! It is short. Don't sweat the small stuff and don't be petty because most of it is all nonsense. Never worry what other people think of you; otherwise you will be always unhappy. In order to succeed, know what you want and stay focused on attaining that goal. The race is with yourself.”

You can read more about Aviva at

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