The latest episode of TRI-POD, The Moodie Davitt Report’s travel retail-themed podcast series in collaboration with The SEVA Group, features Stephenie Rodriguez, founder and champion of WanderSafe, a personal safety electronic device and app especially suitable for women in lone travel or other potentially vulnerable situations.

The story of Wandersafe is a compelling one but the story – and the journey of Stephenie – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Stephenie Rodriguez talks candidly in the podcast about her relationship with her “perfect” new feet {Photo: Tim Bauer}

During a business trip to Nigeria in September 2019, Stephenie was bitten by mosquitos during a photo-session. At first there was no adverse reaction.

Stephenie in hospital with her son Constantine, “a legend… one of the driving forces of my recovery”

However, at Boston Logan Airport in the US later that month, Stephenie suddenly fell desperately ill as she was about to depart for Australia following a short trip to the US. Soon after she fell into a coma. The diagnosis was cerebral malaria.

Over the ensuing days in a Boston hospital she had the last rites administered three times, having suffered acute septic shock and organ failure. Expert medical skill pulled Stephenie through but her struggles were anything but over.

The intense treatment had saved her life but affected the body’s extremities. As a result, Stephenie spent most of 2020 in Sydney hospitals in a battle to save her dying feet and hands, including 28 operations to her feet. Nothing worked. Her heel bones were dying.

If she was to walk again, Stephenie would need a double amputation of both feet, to be replaced by robotic artificial limbs. On 31 March 2021, she had both feet amputated and titanium rods inserted into her shinbones, before spending eight weeks with physiotherapists learning how to walk again.

In this enthralling episode, Stephenie Martin – named one of The Moodie Davitt Report’s People of the Year in 2021 – talks candidly and with deep poignancy about the journey she has taken during the past two years. She relates how she faced up to the perverse prospect of having to have her feet amputated to be able to walk again and how that reality has affected her mentally, spirtually and physically. It’s a must-listen episode.

Note: Would you like to appear with Roger and Martin on TRI-POD? Drop Martin Moodie a line at Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com and we will be in touch.

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