I woke up holding my 13 year old’s hand while a doctor told me that I was "permanently" paralyzed. No child should have that experience. I was planning to spend that day doing post-vacation errands. But plans change. Instead, I lay in ICU.
Before that random bullet tore through my body shattering my spine, my son’s childhood and my way of life, I was just like you. I honored God and paid my taxes. I enjoyed a glamorous career and active lifestyle. But, that all changed in an unforeseen moment. I have learned that life and health are capricious. Unpredictability makes all of us an accident or an illness away from disability.
I am one of the more than 5.6 million people in the US living with paralysis.
I have developed new skills, redefined myself, picked up many (but not all) of the shattered pieces. I am active in funding and research advocacy. I’ve met key researchers. There is reason to hope. Spinal cords can be repaired. We can regain lost function.
One morning, I will wake up holding my son’s hand and learn my spinal cord has been repaired. Since the day my son was born, I’ve looked forward to dancing with him at his wedding. With key advances now taking place, I hope that dream will come true. Soon.