SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Daredevil Nik Wallenda and his sister Lijana plan to cross New York's Times Square on a 25-story highwire, two years after the accident that left several of their family's troupe seriously injured.
February 8, 2017 is a date embedded in Wallenda's mind.
"I've had to relive that accident over and over again," he said.
His friends and family fell 35 feet to the ground during a practice, just days before they were set to perform an eight-person pyramid with Circus Sarasota.
"A huge part of this is getting over this tragedy in our mind," he continued.
More than two years later, on the same spot, Wallenda is preparing for another heart-stopping walk: This time, over Times Square. He'll be walking the wire with his sister Lijana.
"She broke every bone in her face and internal bleeding, broken leg, broken arm. They didn’t expect her to live," he said.
The Times Square performance will be the first time she'll return to the highwire since the accident. It's a chance they have together to move on from the past. Wallenda knows it won't be easy.
"Fear often keeps some of us from our greatest goals and achievements," Wallenda said. "I’ve had to tell myself that over and over again. And speak the positive into my mind and not allow the negative to overtake my mind."
He hopes their walk, 25 stories up with a 1,300-foot distance, will inspire others to face their challenges and their fears head-on.
"New York City is a city that never sleeps and never stops. My goal is to stop that city for at least 25 minutes as I’m on that wire," he said.
Public practices will start at Nathan Benderson Park on June 1. Nik and Lijana will practice from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Practices will be held Tuesday through Saturday.
Nik and Lijana will walk the wire above Times Square on June 23.