By Brandi Neal, Coast magazine
May 1, 2018

Michelle Wulfestieg, 37, knows a thing or two about second chances. At age 11 she suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with an inoperable brain lesion. By the time she was 14, doctors told her she was unlikely to live to see her 30th birthday. “So at that moment I was really faced with a choice to either feel sorry for myself or to make each day count,” Wulfestieg says. “I chose the latter. I excelled in school. I played volleyball for all four years of high school with half of my body paralyzed.”

Determined to make the most of her limited time, she traveled the world, from China’s Great Wall to the Taj Mahal and an African safari. She also worked with children orphaned by AIDS and at a rape crisis center. “I was searching for my purpose because I knew I was here for a reason.” Then, while completing her master’s degree in pursuit of a career in hospice, Wulfestieg had a second stroke at age 25. The Bayview Heights resident describes a near-death experience where she was surrounded by light and love.

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