Debilitating stroke can't pin local pro-wrestler now aiming for GLCW Women's Title

NOW: Debilitating stroke can’t pin local pro-wrestler now aiming for GLCW Women’s Title

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Before she was training to win a title fight at Blizzard Brawl 2023 as Harley Jane, Sophia Gedgaudas was in a fight for her life. 

"She only had a 15-percent chance of surviving the stroke." her mom, Lily Gedgaudas said.

At the age of 19, Sophia was left paralyzed following a rare stroke.

"For the two hours I just, we prayed," said Lily. "You call up all your friends, but you get prepared to say goodbye."

The odds were stacked against the young woman, but they hadn't faced a fighter like Sophia.

"If someone tells me I can't do it, I have to go and do it." said Sophia.

She survived the surgery but her road to recovery was anything but easy. She had to learn to walk again, talk again, even how to chew food.

"When you go through something like that, you get depressed." remembered Sophia.

Then, she found an unlikely solution.

"After physical therapy and having a hard day, I would turn on wrestling." Sophia said. "It saved my life."

In 2021, on a trip to Chicago to see All Elite Wrestling (AEW), everything clicked.

"I just saw them flipping and doing moves," said Sophia. "I told my mom and my dad, 'Hey, I can do it! Why not me?"

She applied to a wrestling academy in Texas to learn from one of her favorite wrestlers and a legend of the sport, Dustin Rhodes.

Since then she's appeared all over the country, including on TV with AEW and OVW.

"I hope one day to be with WWE or AEW." Sophia said. "I know I will one day."

This Saturday, the 24-year-old, who goes by Harley Jane in the ring, is focused on the Great Lakes Championship Wrestling Women's Championship belt.

And she hopes her journey from a near-death stroke victim to a pro-wrestling superstar will inspire others to never give up.

"It was hard for me to keep going, but I did it, with my family and my friends, and wrestling." Sophia said.
"She's a fighter, she's never going to stop fighting." her mom, Lily, added. 

Harley Jane faces Renee Michelle and AEW star Leila Grey with special guest referee Alicia Fox Saturday December 2nd at the Waukesha County Expo Center. Tickets are available at the door.

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