Survival Stories: Depends on resilience and the fighting spirit

Doug Williams
Courtesy of the Garfield County Office of Tourism; inset courtesy of Health Leadership Development in Portland
Courtesy of the Garfield County Office of Tourism; inset courtesy of Health Leadership Development in Portland

Surviving in harsh conditions is not down to one specific trait or some superhuman power; it entirely depends on the resilience and the fighting spirit which is at the core of human existence.

Following is the list of some of the most amazing Survival stories that can teach us a lesson or two about fighting the odds.

Victoria Grover – the Survival lessons never leave you alone

Victoria Grover only intended a peaceful walk and some hiking in the desert of Utah in the Spring of 2012, when she fell and broke her leg while trying to jump over a small ledge. She found herself unable to walk however she had to put up a fight as there was no help anywhere near her. Without any food or enough water and suffering from Type 2 diabetes, Grover did not expect to last very long. However, Grover had taken a survival course in the area 40 years ago in 1972; the survival instinct brought back all the memories, and she decided to fight for her life. She stayed up all night and slept through the day huddled under a poncho. For the first two days Grover managed to find firewood and kept herself warm; however, on the third day, her pain became too immense to carry out any hard work. She was found on her fourth day in the wilderness suffering from severe hypothermia. Victoria Grover was rescued by the same pilot Aron Ralston who took the climber from the movie 127 Hours to safety.

Mauro Prosperi – what doesn’t kill you makes you Stronger

One of the toughest and most challenging of all races, Sahara’s Marathon des Sables is not for the faint-hearted people. The participants have to trek through 250 kilometres of harsh weather across the Sahara Desert under a weak. For an Italian policeman who entered the race in 1994 the Marathon in Saharan Desert turned out to be much more brutal then it normally is. Not long after Mauro Prosperi started the race he was hit by a massive sand storm, Prosperi decided to keep walking with the fear of getting buried under sand. When the storm abated, Prosperi kept walking on his trek however he did not know that he was off the mark and walking in the wrong direction. After realizing his mistake, Prosperi knew what to do; his survival instinct kicked in. He filled his empty water bottle with his urine to have some liquid for later.

He carried on walking in the morning and evenings while spent the midday under some shade. His journey was not going anywhere as he sipped on his own urine for three days and kept walking. After some time Prosperi found an Old Muslim shrine with only bats living in it; he captured a couple and drank their blood. After spending a couple of days in the shrine, Prosperi decided to kill himself and cut his wrist after writing a short note to his wife. However, he did not die. This inability to die gave him some encouragement, and he started walking again and soon found an oasis, after surviving almost nine days in the dessert; from where a bunch of tribesmen took him to a nearby Algerian base.

Ricky Gilmore – you don’t need legs to walk away from Death

This story offers resilience and a very common human trait of sheer inhumanity and apathy. Ricky Gilmore, 49 a paraplegic and a hitchhiking enthusiast, decided one day to hitchhike for some liquor in New Mexico. On his way, he got picked up by a kind couple who decided to take Gilmore to his destination and then drop him off. However, they dropped Gilmore in the middle of nowhere when Gilmore refused to share his liquor with the couple; they even took his wheelchair with them. Gilmore had no option but to drag himself along the road hoping that someone could come this way and picked him up.

However, he never got any help and had to drag himself for almost three days without food and water. According to Gilmore, many people spotted him dragging on the side of the road, but the only helped they offered was a heartless honk, and then they carried on their journey. On the third day a driver decided to stop and found Gilmore close to death; his kidneys had almost failed, he had bruises all over his body, and he was suffering from severe hypothermia. Gilmore survived the ordeal after he spent more than a weak in the hospital, however, the inhumanity he faced stays with him for the rest of his life.

Hank Morello – Old you maybe, Dead you are not

It was a February evening in 2011, when 84-year-old Henry ‘Hank’ Morello took a wrong turn on his way back from his favourite restaurant. He tried to get himself back on the track but failed and ended up crashing his car into a ravine. Morello’s car was stuck there, and he could not take it out and on top of all that he had no water or food on him. He decided to stay with his car as it was his best chance of being rescued.

For the next five days, Morello stayed in his car, drinking the liquid from his windscreen viper container and praying to St Anthony. After five long days, Morello was spotted by a group of hikers who found him in considerably good health. However, Morello doubted he could have lasted another night there. Despite drinking a diluted poison containing methanol, Morello surprisingly survived and lived to tell the amazing story.



fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival