Photo by Ram Peddinti

Harshada Rajani

Harshada Rajani, hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a freelance writer and the co-founder of We Win, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people recovering from neurological injuries afford rehabilitation. Though she graduated from Duke University Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 2007 and began medical school at her alma mater immediately thereafter, a massive stroke at twenty-three changed all of her plans. The stroke left her with locked-in syndrome—she was paralyzed bilaterally from head to toe and unable to speak but cognitively intact. Though she has made progress since then, her life is still a struggle. As she fights to regain her voice and her muscles, she’s found an even more powerful voice through her writing. Her writing has made its way onto HuffPost, Refinery29, VICE and other publications. Through her work with We Win, she helps patients and families navigate these tough times while also spreading awareness to the larger community about disability, healthcare costs and the importance of physical therapy. She has also started speaking engagements to share her experience, educate medical professionals, and advocate for patients. 



After being silenced by my stroke for so long, as soon as I could use a computer, the words came pouring out, and show no signs of abating anytime soon. My writing has been published on HuffPost, Refinery29, VICE, SheKnows and others.

We Win Co-founder

Our volunteer-based nonprofit, founded in 2014, raises money to help those recovering from neurological injuries afford rehabilitation. As co-founder and head volunteer, I handle all day-to-day activities of awarding grants, speaking with patients, therapists and doctors while also coordinating fundraising efforts.


Through my experience, I’ve learned more about being a doctor than being a patient, and I hope to share all that I’ve learned. Through speeches and through my writing, I aim to encourage healthcare professionals to treat their every patient with empathy and humility.


Duke University

B.S. in Psychology & Chemistry, 2003 – 2007

  • Benjamin N. Duke scholar (full four-year merit scholarship based on service, leadership and academics)
  • Summa cum laude
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Duke University School of Medicine

M.D., 2007 – 2008

  • Pursuing pediatric oncology
  • Indefinite medical leave

Recovery Updates

Walking short distances with assistance
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