As the name of our website indicates, we are all about helping people to go beyond just surviving and to thrive with paralysis. With that goal in mind, we want to share with you some of the inspiring stories we have found regarding people who have done just that. Here are some of our favorites and we hope they provide you with the inspiration you need to find your purpose and hope.
Before we tell Jessica’s story, we want to forewarn you that what happened for her is very rare when it comes to spinal cord injuries, but it does show that every once in a while, a very determined person will beat the odds.
Jessica was just 17 when she broke some thoracic vertebrae in a gymnastics accident. Despite an immediate prognosis that she would never walk again, Jessica was determined to give it a try. She knew that she was young and healthy, but at the same time, she couldn’t feel anything from the chest down, so she didn’t even have the help of her abdominal muscles to keep herself upright.
The first step was forcing herself to get out of the house in her wheelchair, even if it was just to grab a coffee. She wouldn’t allow herself to sit home feeling sorry for herself, even though there were days that she was very sad. She worked hard every day in rehab. It took months before she was able to activate her abdominal muscles and sit up. Months later, she felt her first muscle twitch in her leg.
By the time she graduated from college, she was able to walk to get her diploma. She still can’t feel the ground beneath her feet, and that leads to frequent falls, but Jessica is happy she never gave up. What helped her keep going until she reached her goal? She says that reading inspirational quotes and watching videos of people overcoming obstacles fed her determination. You can read the full story in Glamour magazine.
Katie Estrella is an inspiring teenage girl who suffered a devastating injury during her high school years while riding a horse. Katie is a determined young woman who was never going to let her injury get her down. In fact, she says that she is more confident now than ever before. What has helped her to maintain her confidence and independence despite living with paralysis?
Katie’s mom was able to find assistance online that allowed them to be able to afford hand controls for Katie’s car. From that point forward, it was just a matter of learning to drive again by using her hands to work both the pedals and the steering wheel. Now she can driver herself to school during the week and to the mall to hang out with her girlfriends on the weekend.
Katie doesn’t view living with paralysis as a struggle. She just had to learn to do the same things that she used to do in a different way. What a great attitude to have!
We can’t talk about inspirational stories without mentioning our founder, Dr. Bill Davis. Bill’s life did change when he experienced his injury while mountain biking in 2011. He was used to providing for his family and helping heal people as an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner. But he was determined to continue being a breadwinner and healer, no matter what challenges he faced along the way.
That’s why Bill started learning everything he could online to help him begin a marketing business for other upper cervical chiropractic practitioners. This allowed him to build a successful company and both support his family and help others to find the care they needed. His new purpose in life was really no different from his old purpose. He could take care of the people he loves and help others to get well!
But Bill wanted to do even more. There are only so many upper cervical chiropractors, and while helping tens of thousands of people to find the care they need would be enough for some people, Bill was determined to help even more people to find hope and healing. That’s why he expanded his business to Hope and Healing Solutions, which includes the Thriving With Paralysis website. Bill is determined to bring hope and healing to millions of people around the globe!
This doesn’t mean that life is now all sunshine and rainbows – Bill will be the first one to tell you that he experiences both physical and emotional pain due to his injuries. His wife Julie can also share her experiences as a spouse and caregiver for someone who is living with paralysis. However, Bill and Julie are both thriving, not just in running a successful online business but also as a family with their children, extended family, and many close friends.
The purpose of sharing these inspirational stories is to let you know that you too can thrive with paralysis. There is hope! You may not see the miraculous results that Jessica experienced, but finding (or re-finding) purpose in life after becoming paralyzed can be just as incredible of an experience. No one is going to have a perfect life – whether someone is living with paralysis or not – but you can find hope and purpose, and that is the key to thriving with paralysis!
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