Gabrielle Giffords attends 9th Annual Authors Night at The East Hampton Library on Aug. 10, 2013 in East Hampton, New York.
Scott Roth / WireImage / Getty Images
January 8, 2014 11:06 AM EST

Updated: 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will celebrate her miraculous recovery from the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that nearly took her life three years ago by jumping out of an airplane Wednesday.

In January 2011, gunman Jared Loughner entered a Giffords campaign event and began shooting, murdering six people and wounding 13 others. Giffords was shot in the head and had to undergo intensive physical therapy. On the third anniversary of that shooting, Giffords is going skydiving in southern Arizona to celebrate her survival.

Giffords also wrote an op-ed in the New York Times Wednesday describing her ongoing recovery: “Many may look at me and see mostly what I have lost. I struggle to speak, my eyesight’s not great, my right arm and leg are paralyzed, and I left a job I loved representing southern Arizona in Congress.”

But she goes on to say her experience and the mass shooting of schoolchildren in Newtown in December 2012 inspired her to find her life purpose. “It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path,” she says. “After that day, my husband and I pledged to make it our mission to change laws and reduce gun violence in a way that was consistent with our moderate beliefs and our identities as proud gun owners.”

Just before noon Mountain time, Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly tweeted a photo of the intrepid skydiver and her instructor coming in for landing.

Giffords’ daring stunt will be shown on NBC’s Today show on Thursday.

This post has been updated to reflect Giffords’ successful landing.

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