More than Fifty Years Later, Quadriplegic Deauville Continues to Beat the Odds

Lani Deauville
When 17-year Lani Deauville dove from a seawall on a Jacksonville, Florida, beach in 1958, it didn't seem particularly risky. After all, the athletic champion diver was used to diving from bridges, racing cars at high speeds and generally, as Deauville remembers, "performing any scary activity I could think of." With this particular dive into shallow water, however, Deauville slammed hard into the ocean floor, breaking the fourth, fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae in her neck.

Deauville was paralyzed from the neck down. "If you broke your neck in the 1950s," explains Deauville, "you died. If you survived the initial injury, the life expectancy of a quadriplegic back then was five years." Quadriplegics typically have to battle of variety of health complications, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, central nervous-system infections, gastrointestinal ulcerations, osteoporosis and bowel blockages.

Deauville refused to accept her fate. She changed from a neurosurgeon to an orthopedic surgeon when the neurosurgeon wouldn't recommend surgery to stabilize her neck, because he thought her case was hopeless. After getting neck-stabilization surgery and spending a year and a half in the hospital fighting skin ulcers, spasms and infections, Deauville became the first quadriplegic patient of the State of Florida's Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.

Over the next few years, Deauville pursued an education with the same level of drive that used to propel her adrenaline-soaked youth. She obtained her GED, entered Daytona Beach Community College and then went on to earn her undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida – all at a time when quadriplegics usually stayed home and out of sight. Lack of disability-friendly ramps and facilities sometimes meant that Deauville had to hire strong assistants to carry her up and down stairs. After graduating with honors, she was accepted to the University of Alabama to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology.

During her eight years as a student, Deauville continued to battle critical illnesses that kept her hospitalized at least once a year. A dangerous infection ultimately led her to leave school and focus on regaining her health and earning income.
Lani with her son Ryan
Following stints as a rehabilitation psychologist and then as a coordinator in the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services, Deauville helped write universal-access legislation for disabled people that became law in 1974 in Florida and was adopted in part by the federal government.

"Now that the United States is more accessible to persons in wheelchairs, a physically disabled person can go nearly anywhere." In 1976, Deauville and her husband Jude were invited to the White House by President Ford, who honored her as "Disabled Employee of the Year."

In 1980, Deauville became the first female and disabled person to be direct the Florida State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency – the very agency that was responsible with her own rehabilitation years before.

But the recurring illnesses that tend to plague quadriplegics were attacking with increasing frequency, exacerbated by the fact that a very busy Deauville wasn't eating healthy food or getting enough exercise. In 1987, after retirement, she broke a hip and suffered from several infections. "Each hospitalization saw me ending up worse off than before," she remembers.

Everything changed in the late '80s. Her brother-in-law – Sam Graci, a Canadian biochemist – had been developing a highly nutritious "green drink" made up of superfoods that he thought might help improve Deauville's health. "Sam used me as his favorite guinea pig," says Deauville.

He continued to refine the powder into a supplement – mixable with juice or water – that became known as Greens+®. "I've been supplementing my food intake with this formula for 19 years," says Deauville, "and it has totally transformed my life and health. After suffering numerous hospitalizations for more than 30 years, I can say that I've not had a major illness in years, and I am healthier today than I've ever been."
Lani has been awarded with Guinness World Record
for longest-living quadriplegic
Greens+ is a whole food supplement consisting of 29 enzymatically alive foods. Each serving of Greens+ is equal to five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. It helps to support the immune system, provide increased natural energy, strengthens mental acuity and cleanses and detoxifies the body.

In 1991, Deauville and her husband began distributing Greens+ to their family and friends, and – eventually – to health-food and healthcare professionals in 19 countries worldwide. Today, a variety of other supplemental products based on Greens+ are available, including the Chia™ product for cooking.

Given up for dead more than 50 years ago, Deauville has managed to beat the odds. In the process, she's lived a fulfilling life that has included improving opportunities for other disabled. At 71, she credits her longevity to healthy eating, Greens Plus supplements and exercise (she lifts weights twice a week and swims regularly). Along with all of Lani's other achievements, she has been awarded with the Guinness World Record for longest-living quadriplegic!

"In retrospect, I wouldn't exchange five minutes of my life with anyone. I am living a wonderfully blessed life."

For more information about Greens+, visit


  1. I am blessing in knowing this woman and I can honestly say that she is truly amazing! Her perserverence and positive outlook are far greater than most of us can even imagine. She truly IS a woman to be admired

  2. Lani... I was introduced to this lovely lady and after some time of exchanging emails and phone conversations, she became my hero, who do I think of every time when I am "down"..Just thinking of her strength and her devotion to live, keeps me "rolling"! Thank you Lani, Petr Spurny,CO.

  3. Lani, you are a true inspiration for all of us. I am honored to know you. I am grateful for your example. And, indebted to Greens+ which I have been drinking daily for almost 20 years! God Bless You!

  4. I was blessed to have Lani in my life. As a close friend of my Mother's and then of my sister and mine, she has been an inspirational force throughout. We met over 50 years ago. I never saw her disability. I saw her as beautiful person (truth be known, I had a crush on her as I grew up) and a beautiful spiritual soul. She was a wonderful friend of my Mother's, whi I am sure still looks out over her. Today I am so lucky to have reconnected with her and Jude. Lani is a powerhouse and I am proud to call her my friend.

  5. We all tend to live in our own little worlds, and fixate on our "problems". Then we meet someone like Lani and realize most of our "problems" are merely minor little obstacles. I had a sister who lived her entire adult life with a debilitating illness and passed away at 51. Like Lani's situation, most people who were dealt the cards she got would have felt sorry for themself and wasted away in a back room. She did not. She worked and traveled and like Lani, lived a full, productive life. Like Lani, she is an inspiration. I really wish Lani and my sister had met each other. Paul Newman, FL

  6. This extraordinary lady is my cousin. Can't say enough about how proud I am of her and the way she has lived her life to the fullest. She is truly a wonderwoman!!

  7. fab story! She looks amazing! wow! so vibrant and beautiful..those greens must work! would be interested in knowing more about her diet..when does she take the drink am only? and what does her diet look like other than that? Also, what level is she? Such a great story! thanks!



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