A choice that seemed so inconsequential, became one that changed the course of my life forever.
Everything went from technicolor to black and white; a life defined by progress was derailed in a moments time.
It was October 31, 2009. Friends and I poured out of the concert, with plans to have a nightcap nearby. I grabbed my boyfriend and hopped in the backseat of a shiny white sports car. Looking out of the sunroof at the stars sprinkled across the midnight sky...
...a crash and blurred memories. I lied motionless, folded in my lap. My neck had snapped as our car fishtailed out of control...severing my spinal cord and instantly paralyzing me...
Everything I knew about myself had been taken, stripped, robbed. I couldn’t talk from all the tubes, I was freezing cold as the medical team rushed to pump ice cold water through my veins to minimize swelling around my spinal cord, and I could not move. Screws, secured into my temples, held a halo contraption with a weighted ball on the other end...making certain I DID NOT MOVE. A few days later a team of orthopedic and neuro surgeons would borrow a piece of my hip bone and restructure the shattered bones in my neck. A cage and rods would secure the front and back of my shattered neck. I am safe...but how would I REACT?
Ironically, REACT became my path forward!
My family and I set out to find every option available; what is out there for my recovery? I had to channel my energy into something constructive and our search led us to California.
Not knowing what I would find, a coach or a charlatan, I found something better – a community! I found a community of broken bodies fighting back, defying the odds, believing in each other. A shift happened while I trained amongst these new friends – I found a way forward; I felt purpose and had hope.
I reclaimed, inch by inch, my ability to care for myself. I remember the day I was no longer scared to be left home alone. I remember the day I looked in the mirror and finally saw myself again. I still hate this wheelchair. I would give anything for a moment in my old body. BUT, I had found a community of people that love and live through a new lens. These people helped me find my why.
After 2 years in California, I returned home ready to open my own neurological training center, REACT. The name is an acronym for Restorative Exercise And CommuniTy...the 2 things that allowed me to find myself after a spinal cord injury robbed me.
Exercise and Community are everything when faced with a neurological injury or disease and I am honored to lead a team of mission driven coaches and therapist working to scale a system of training that will change the recovery potential for everyone battling these awful conditions.