As you may or may not know, the 5th anniversary if my accident was this past June. I was injured in a swimming accident, which left me paralyzed from my chest down. A split second decision to do a shallow dive changed my life forever. It was a stupid mistake (that thousands of people make every summer) that I'm still paying for, five years later.
I no longer have the ability to care for myself. Paralysis has robbed me of my independence, privacy, career, relationships, dreams and so much more. My accident literally flipped my life upside down overnight. Right now there is no cure to paralysis, so I have to face the reality that I might spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I might never walk again, feel most of my body or be able to live without relying on others for my daily needs. It's a hard pill to swallow. Although I have hope for a cure, I have to live for today & deal with what I have now. It's important to me that other people understand how awful paralysis is, and why we should fight for a cure. I use my life as an example of how quickly life can change and hope people can learn from my experience.
According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, 6,500 teens end up going to the ER every summer, due to diving accidents. That does not include other summer related injuries, like biking, riding motor cycles, surfing or sports; which are all common causes for spinal cord injuries. Given that the annual rate of spinal cord injury (USA) is about 12,000, that means over half of all spinal cord injuries occur during the summer months. The CDRF estimates that there are approximately 200,000 people currently living (in the United States) with paralysis, due to recreational related spinal cord injuries. I'm one of those people.
Please take the time to learn more about paralysis & support research for a cure. There are many causes of paralysis. Unfortunately, many cases are due disease or preexisting medical condition and can not be avoided or prevented. Most spinal cord injuries can be avoided or prevented. Educate yourself and others of the common causes of spinal cord injuries and be mindful of safety measures that you can take to help prevent yourself and/or others from injury. There are some simple tips that you should know and discuss with any children/young adults in your life. The CDRF Paralysis Resource Center has put together a list for summer safety. Please check it out & share the info with friends & family (http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.mtKZKgMWKwG/b.5283099/k.6B65/Summer_Safety_Checklist.htm?msource=email&auid=6574797). It'll only take five minutes and could potentially save you or a loved one from getting injured. It's something I wish I had been more aware of at the time of my accident. It's so common to feel invincible when you're young and think it's important for everyone to be reminded of how easily a careless mistake can result in a serious injury. If I had read this checklist five years ago, it could have made me more cautious and i could have potentially made better decisions. Who knows? The point is, it never hurts to play things safe.
Thanks for reading & enjoy the rest of your summer!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad