3 Paws Up

Karolyn Smith is the 2014 Veteran of the Year for the 71st District, Speaker, Author and innovative 3D prototype creator for her cat, Sophia,The Ambassador for the San Diego Humane Society and an amputee. Find more about this story at http://www.3pawsup.com

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Karolyn Smith

Karolyn Smith

Karolyn is born and raised in San Diego, California and enlisted in the US Army shortly after the events of 9/11. At the tender age of 29, and placing aside an athletic career, Karolyn would become a Military Police Officer and find herself deployed with the 127th Military Police Company (Germany) to Bagdad Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. In true form, Karolyn would accept the dangerous position as crew-serve machine gunner, affixed atop a hummvv and conducted more than 200 combat patrols in the second deadliest patrol sector of Iraq between 2004-2005. Having been engaged daily with Improvised Explosive Devices(IED’s), Mortar attacks and small-arms fire, Karolyn and her team would suffer unimaginable horrors and 13 IED’s during her yearlong combat tour, resulting in service connected spinal injuries as well as Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). In 2014 after years of substandard VA treatment and saddled with VA scheduled opioid use for nearly 5 years, Karolyn would be accepted into UCLA’s Operation MEND, and receive a cutting edge spinal fusion that would change the course of her life. Karolyn often remarks, “UCLA saved my life with this new biotech fusion that allows me to tell my story of struggle, injury and triumph.” Karolyn’s story doesn’t stop at UCLA; it actually begins anew there. Within the same year, Karolyn would adopt an amputee kitten, Sophia, and create the first ever 3D printed detachable prosthetic for a cat. After the story of her and Sophia went viral, Karolyn turned her journey into a children’s book, which is available on Amazon as well as on the shelves at your local Barnes and Noble. In 2017 Karolyn and Sophia, dubbed “Sophia the Bionic Cat”, Karolyn would be contacted by Jackson Galaxy from “My Cat from Hell” fame and they would partner up and create an episode on the Animal Planet about Karolyn and Sophia’s story. In 2017 Karolyn became a full time Inspirational Speaker and President of her new 501©3, ‘3 Paws UP’ a non-profit that will provide Inspirational material like “Sophia the Bionic Cat” to children in Critical Care facilities like Children’s Hospital and Rady’s hospitals, at no cost to the family. You can find Karolyn at speaking events here in San Diego as she will be the guest speaker at the San Diego Makers Faire in Balboa Park as well as BioCom’s Gala event also located in San Diego. Karolyn still resides in East, San Diego County where she is actively involved in her Veteran community and is currently writing the screenplay to “Sophia the Bionic Cat.”