"Ultimately my story is about resiliency, love, friendship, hope and faith," the contestant writes

By Melissa Gilbert
Updated April 02, 2012 09:50 AM
Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

So this is “Most Memorable Year” week on Dancing with the Stars. Each of us has been asked to tell the story of the most memorable year of our lives and our partners are each choreographing a dance that best portrays what we experienced that year.

I’m going to try to write about this experience without actually revealing the story itself.

Now, I have lived a very rich life. In my 47 years I have had many memorable experiences: births, deaths, successes, heartbreak, adventure, pain, joy – all of it. Choosing just one event in one year was nearly impossible. It almost seemed to me that choosing one might be trivializing or minimizing one of the others. Not an easy choice to make at all.

However, after conferring at length with my partner Maks, I decided to go with a recent story. One that I have never really discussed publicly. One that only those closest to me know all about.

Maks and I chose this story because it is about triumph and survival. It is about challenging one’s self beyond all physical limitation. Ultimately my story is about resiliency, love, friendship, hope and faith. My story is about the indomitable human spirit. It is about the power we all have within us to overcome whatever hardships we must face.

Maks’s choreography is truly stunning. I know that he too has a similar personal story and he has conveyed all of our emotions through beautiful, languid and wildly elated movement.

After dancing the quickstep last week, we are dancing the jive this week. Woven throughout the dance are moments of fear, pain and tremendous growth. It is the first dance we’ve done that has a real story behind it. It brings me to tears every time.

Our goal this week is to inspire people. To show them that there is hope, even where they see none. To share the pain and suffering I went through only to come out of the other side – not just fine, but dancing.

I am dancing! Will wonders never cease.