-edited by Sandra M
Life for a person with a disability is not easy. We constantly have to deal with health issues. We are also dealing with emotional demons. For those of you that know me or have been following my journey you know the struggles that I have been enduring. In the past 2 years I have had 7 surgeries and have had many complications. What most people don’t know is that behind the smiles, for the past year I have been also been battling severe depression. Through this experience, I found a way to survive and overcome hardship.
So, how did I manage to keep smiling and continue training? The answer is simple. I had a goal to reach, I have the Great Wall of China to wheel. Knowing I had a goal with a specific date already set, I had to overcome. During the toughest times of my life, I have forced myself to wake up and get up! I have forced myself to leave the house. Forced myself to hit the gym and the hills to train. Slowly, these actions became routines, these routines became a life style. All my energy, passionate determination is focused on achieving my goal of wheeling up the Great Wall of China.
Every day I’m driven by my dream, I can see the finish line, and my health issues just faded away into the background. I planned each step to ensure the success of my goal. I signed up with P.A.L.S training at the Steadward Center from the University of Alberta, they provide a student trainer who helps me to train specific muscle groups. I have a set routine of workout between training at the gym, wheeling up hills, dancing Zumba, wheelchair rugby practices with Edmonton Steel Wheels Club and doctor’s offices 7 days a week. My friends giving me suggestions. My teammate Dan Piller lent me his rollers (an exercise machine for wheelchair users) and a Freewheel (a single wheel attachment for the wheelchair to make smooth wheeling). Friends from far and wide are giving me encouraging words and well wishes. All of these factors have helped me both mentally and physically during these difficult times. I am so grateful to have great friends and I live in a wonderful community.
I just had my 15th new “birth” birthday party. If you wonder what it is? I have been celebrating the day of my car accident as a rebirth into my new life. At my celebration, my friends and family donated money towards my next mini project, buying pressure sore relief mattresses for people with disabilities in China. We managed to raise enough money for 10 mattresses as well as soaker pads to go with them. I am so grateful to have such supportive friends in my life.
The date to become the first quadriplegic to wheel on the Great Wall of China is set, September 26th is the day. I hope my achievement and hard work will encourage people in my community and worldwide to think outside the box. To not let difficulties in life prevent them from living a full life, and to be empowered, to not only dream big, but put their dreams into action.
With 8 days to go, my mind is already at the Great Wall, soon my body will follow