Choosing to Press On

Explore Melissa’s story below.

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January 31, 1980


Eden Prairie, MN

Olympic Games

2008, 2016, 2020



Melissa’s Paralympic Journey

Born a patriot, Melissa joined the Army and was deployed to Iraq in 2004. That same year, her vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb and she lost her leg above the knee, making her the first female to lose a leg in active combat. After her rehab and accepting her loss of her leg, Melissa turned to sports. She knew that somehow, someway she was going to become a Paralympian and represent her country again. 

The best thing about a setback is that there is always a comeback.
Road to Tokyo

Her dream became a reality when she swam for the U.S. Paralympic Team in 2008. In 2016, she transitioned to the paratriathlon and joined her teammates in great success. Now a mother of two, Melissa is ready to prove she can still keep up with her younger competitors as she heads to Tokyo. Melissa started a nonprofit, Dare2tri, where she introduces athletes with physical impairments to the sport of paratriathlon. She also travels the country, inspiring others by sharing her story. She believes that when faced with unexpected challenges, we all have the power to deal with them. For Melissa, if one person is helped by hearing her story, she feels an enormous amount of satisfaction. Safe to say, she’s living a life she never could have imagined and loving every minute of it. 


Undeniable Style

“I love my 4Runner with its white frame and black rims and wheels. I can only smile when I walk through the parking lot.”

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2019 vehicle loaned to athlete

Take it all in.

“My 4Runner can go anywhere, and it perfectly fits my family of four. My son calls it “Giganto,” and it’s become a part of our family!”

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2019 vehicle loaned to athlete

4Runner Stats




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With its powerful V6 engine, proven body-on-frame platform and advanced terrain-conquering technologies, the 2022 4Runner is ready to take your adventures to the next level.

2022 TRD Off-Road Premium shown in Barcelona Red Metallic