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Real Winners

These long shots overcame the odds and emerged triumphant.

This story appears in the July 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Starting a business is one of the hardest things a person can do, but there are times in life when a person must overcome even greater obstacles, such as serious life-or-death issues that dwarf any other concerns. We talked with two entrepreneurs who overcame such obstacles--and started businesses to boot.

Don Katz, 29, founder of the Symposium Wine Bar in Irvine, California, is an entrepreneurial success using any definition of the word. With an extensive educational and experiential background in restaurant management, Katz was moving steadily forward in his career--until 2001, when he was struck with spinal meningitis. After awakening from a coma, he was blind, and doctors were unsure if he'd ever walk again. Six months later, he left the hospital, and with continued physical therapy, Katz is back on his feet.

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