"In 1994, I was a sophomore here at ACU, I started having symptoms that were very serious that led to a massive stroke and left me quadriplegic", says Maples.
Today she's visiting the Abilene Christian University campus, where she walked the halls 19 years ago, and endured life changing moments that would shape who she would become.
"I am hardly even the same person that I was 19 years ago. Sometimes it takes a difficult time of training to bring you to maturity", explains maples.
By her side through the whole experience, her best friend, Becky Brooks.
Now as she takes the stage, she hopes to inspire thousands of young minds that fill the stands.
"The doctor and Nika's parents called me in and she's not expected to make it through the night, and you need to say your goodbyes. Emotionally, I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it", Brooks tells us.
Once a quadriplegic, Maples has literally taken strides in her health, and though she still uses a cane, also in her hands--her faith.
"I had doubts and i had questions, but now I can honestly say that I trust the Lord completely. That's what has changed the most", says Maples.
Also something you'll never see her without--a smile, there to remind everyone of hope.