Have you ever had your whole life change in an instant? A split second that you never saw coming, and after which everything changes forever. Well that’s what happened to me on January 26th 2011, and has led me on a very different path to where I ever saw myself going.
I survived a fall of about 20 feet from a balcony onto a solid marble floor. I dislocated my spine at T8/9, which is about waist height, and I suffered some pretty bad spinal cord damage. The exact extent of the damage is hard to know, but basically I am paralysed from the waist down. And now I am living my life on wheels instead of legs, and considering how active I was before my accident, this has been the most insane life adjustment imaginable.
Oh, and this all happened while I was in Morocco, a country that doesn’t have the most sophisticated medical system. After spending 2 days in hospital there I was flown back to the UK where I was moved from Chichester Hospital to a specialist spinal unit in Stanmore. It was here that I was told I would never walk again, and it was here that I decided that it’s pretty unfair to tell a 23 year old fit and active person that they won’t ever walk again. So being the stubborn person that I am, I decided that I would dedicate my time to proving my doctors wrong.
I don’t care about the sympathetic looks that people give me when I tell them that I will prove the doctors wrong. They normally just look at me and nod, saying something like ‘good for you’, when I know that in they’re head they are thinking that I am completely delusional or in complete denial. Well I am neither of those things. I am determined and I am not afraid of hard work. I love a challenge, although this is a pretty extreme challenge! But to me, this isn’t just about walking again. It is about proving that anything is possible and life doesn’t end when you are dealt a catastrophic blow such as a spinal injury.
I don’t know how my story is going to end, but I am going to work my ass off and keep smiling along the way.