As It Happens

As it Happened: The Archive Edition - The New Beginnings Episode

The individuals in this episode have each faced experiences that few of us will ever have to face in our lifetimes.

Journeys to the brink, beyond, and back again — from 50 years of AIH archives

Jonathan Fleming spends time with his lawyer's son, shortly after he was exonerated of murder in 2014 — having spent nearly 25 years behind bars. (Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press)

Life is full of beginnings and endings — and new beginnings — for all of us.

But the individuals in this episode of As it Happened: The Archive Edition​ have each faced experiences that few of us will ever have to face in our lifetimes — experiences that truly marked the end of life as they knew it.

And each of them has found a way back from the brink, and a way to begin life anew.

Full-length versions of each of the interviews as they originally aired, as well as archival images, appear below.

I was left to die. As far as I was concerned, I had a job to do. And I progressively carried on doing it.- Graham Miles, a victim of locked-in syndrome, a condition in which he could not move any part of his body  except his eyelids

Chapter 1: Body breakout

A massive stroke left him unable to move a muscle, except for his eyelids — but despite a dismal prognosis, Graham Miles determined to beat the odds in the blink of an eye.

A group of huddling surgeons from the perspective of the prostrate patient. (Shutterstock/XiXinXing)

Chapter 2: Bionic Woman

At just 16, Amy Paradis lost the use of her legs in a horrible car crash — until a leap forward in technology led to her first steps in a customized exoskeleton. 

The bionic suit that helped Amy Paradis walk for the first time since 2009. (Courtesy of Marlene Belliveau)

Chapter 3: Love at second sight 

Allen Zderad lived in darkness for a decade, due to a degenerative ocular condition — but after being outfitted with a bionic eye, the person he was most set on seeing was his wife, Carmen.

Allen Zderad hugs his wife Carmen upon recognizing her form through his new bionic eye. (Courtesy: Mayo Clinic)

Chapter 4: Free and cleared

Jonathan Fleming is exonerated after 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit — and keeps his plans simple on the first day of the rest of his life.

Jonathan Fleming was exonerated of murder after almost 25 years behind bars. (Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press)

Chapter 5: Born again

Edward Ryall might have you second-guessing that age-old adage, "You Only Live Once" — because he was convinced his self-described "rather hum-drum" life was, in fact, his second kick at the can (and bucket).

On the grounds of Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, circa 1700. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Chapter 6: Peeved pet

Bud's owners thought his days were numbered, so they thought they'd help him off to that big hamster wheel in the sky — by gently freezing him off this mortal coil. Well then, didn't the fur fly!

A pet owner holds his hamster. (Victor Calzada/The El PasoTimes via The Associated Press)

Listen to the full episode audio at the top of this post. 

Written and produced by Kevin Ball.

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