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About Karen Northshield

Karen’s story is heartbreaking yet inspirational at the same time. 


The year 2016 was a turning point not only in Belgian history but also for Karen Northshield, a Belgian-American, whose life turned around in a split second.

On the morning of 22 March, 3 explosions went off at the Brussels’ International Airport and the metro station Maelbeek. Without knowing it, Karen was standing right next to the first kamikaze who luggage and bomb went off at 7:52 am. In the blink of an eye, she was blown away by the bomb, leaving her on the bare floor of the airport with an open pelvis, multiple hip, leg and foot fractures, severe open intestinal hemorrhage and many other fatal wounds. From one second to the next, it was a matter of life or death. From one second to the next, she went from an athlete in perfect condition to a war victim covered in war injuries from head to toe.


She was transported in extremis to Brussels’ biggest hospital, where the doctors gave her zero chance of survival. She was hospitalized for a consecutive of 3 and a half years, at death’s door, fighting countless life-threatening infections due to the bomb and explosion. To this day she has underwent more than 60 operations and has hundreds of pieces of the bomb in her body.


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To this day, she has defied many statistics, recovering beyond imagination and inspiring others in their paths of reconstruction, reconversion and redefining themselves. Her story is one of hope, inspiration and empowerment for all. She is a living icon of resilience.


She  graduated from one of Brussels’ top-notch universities, Université Libre de Bruxelles, majoring in International Relations and minoring in foreign languages and speaks English, French, Dutch and German fluently.

She has turned her story around from being an innocent victim a civilian to a fighter and survivor.

In 2021, she was awarded the Tribute of the Year Award.

Karen Northshield

Miracle survivor, Author, and inspirational speaker.

Ambassador for hope, determination and resilience.

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