For me, it was the moment of impact. It was chaos as I tumbled downhill. I slid to a stop, face down in the snow. I couldn’t move or feel anything. My body was unresponsive, but my mind was in overdrive.
I knew I was paralyzed—a quadriplegic. I knew it was bad. Life as I knew it was over. I was coaching the Canadian development half pipe ski team in December 2013 when it happened. In a routine trick demonstration, I dislocated my neck.
But there was hope.
After I woke up from surgery the following day, I could just barely open and close my elbows—an indication that things might improve. The doctors told me I would never walk again, and I might get back the use of my arms—a reality I wasn’t quite prepared for. I listened to the doctors, heard them out, but didn’t jump to their conclusions.
How do they know? They might be wrong.
The only person who knows what you’re capable of is you. What you believe, and your mindset, dictates your possibilities and your impossibilities. Chances are, you’re capable of more than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can do. I’m glad I questioned the doctors that day. Something inside me said there would be more for me. I believed there would be more. I believed I could heal.
Watch Mike Shaw's Tedx talk on grief and gratitude.
In 6 weeks, I took my first steps. At three months, I walked out of the hospital. At one year, I stepped back into a pair of skis. In 2015, I ran 10km in the Wings for Life World Run. Since then, I’ve been heli-skiing, run the steepest running race in the world (Red Bull 400), and started Team Coast 2 Coast. Our mission is to unify Canada’s efforts in the WFL World Run to try to fund a cure for spinal cord injury.
I still struggle, but I’m not unique. We all struggle. We’re all human.
There will never be a day in my life that I’m not reminded that I have a spinal cord injury. I can’t fully feel my legs or my hands. Balancing is difficult. I fatigue quickly and my immune system isn’t what it used to be. But I know I am lucky. Most people don’t heal from Spinal Cord Injury. I feel grateful every day and try to focus on the gifts, not the gaps.
Ener-C is one of those gifts. It keeps me energized and healthy. I am thankful for Ener-C!