Modern science has overcome so much but spinal cord injury (SCI) is complex. Don’t miss out on life while waiting for a SCI cure.
Emily and I chose an unknown path recently …….
I don’t know any celebrities but if I had the opportunity I’d hang out with Chris Bath. Chris facilitated the plenary discussion at the CarersNSW Conference where I was invited as a carer representative. A natural gem, who better than Chris to aid the panelists deliver their stories and ideas to an audience of professionals, service providers and the extended care community.
I signed the form that Emily assertively presented to me and realized I was; chief supporter, responsible carer, sandwich maker and jelly bean monitor for her City2Surf team on Sunday, August 9th, 2015.
From Hyde Park the course is 14 km through to the finish line at Bondi. I have not been involved in previous races but you can’t live in Sydney without knowing about the City2Surf Heartbreak Hill. Discard any visions of weeping lovers as they are dumped along the wayside or broken-hearted couples clutching their heaving chests as they wave tearful, red-eyed farewells. No, Heartbreak Hill threatens the thigh and calf muscles of all the participants as it has a false summit. What appears to be the hill-top is actually only a corner on a continuing rise. The undulations that follow through residential streets keeps everyone literally on their toes!
As the ink dried on my signature I rushed to Google the race site. I had to deep breathe through my alarm as I read…… Elite Wheelchair Athletes: This Start Group is for elite wheelchair athletes only. Athletes must be in a racing chair to compete in this Start Group and who will aim to complete the course sub 38mins.
38mins! SUB 38mins!
Let’s go back to the beginning – Emily wants to raise awareness and funds for ParaQuad. An organisation that supports people with spinal cord injury in the community. As a ParaQuad member Emily could apply and was granted a scholarship which she put towards her University fees. Returning to University was an important milestone within Emily’s recovery goals.
ParaQuad supports life choices after spinal injuries. It also supports carers because if it aids Emily, it aids me as her full-time carer. With increased resources and support Emily is empowered with more independence heading towards a positive future with opportunities.
On our first training session we averaged 5 km an hour so we should finish the City2Surf course in 3 hours. Add in a sandwich and jelly bean pit stop and maybe a finish time of 3.5 hours would be more realistic. Does that help put the elite wheelchair athletes into perspective!
Emily and her mate Cobie are determined to push their way through and enjoy the success that comes with a challenge. If you would like to support them and their carers by donating to ParaQuad please see their everyday heroes site here
Thank you from Emily, me and our track coach – The Big Black Beastie!
Cover girl Emily advertising Imagine Me – a project that allows people with spinal cord injury to express themselves through a self-portrait created using new photographic technology.
Imagine Me project artist and facilitator Sue Murray has worked with each individual, even if artists could only use a mouth stick they were able to control aspects of the camera. Sue said “It’s great to be around people who have overcome disability – it’s very inspiring. It’s what you can do and not about what you can’t do – this is about enabling and empowering people”
The collection of images is as varied as the individuals; from Game of Thrones, words from the Beatles and one portrait inspired by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Each portrait has a paragraph from the artist, the combination of words and picture give a glimpse of the person who created the work of art.
The images displayed in this exhibition are all inpactual, some are reflective, all are beautiful, many reveal the unexpected and also the artists cheeky sense of fun. I felt honored that each participant had let me see something special, just briefly I was allowed an insight into their inner strength, their imagination and their personalities shine through for all to see.
The exhibition runs till June 30th at the Dougherty Centre, 7 Victor Street, Chatswood.
Monday to Friday, 8.30am and Saturdays at 11am.
As Emily has to stick to 1200 calories or 5000 kilojoules a day I aim to make them tasty!
Vegetables are our staple ingredient as delicious and healthy. Emily was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe for vegetable chilli so with a few minor adaptations I cooked up a hot chilli dinner! Continue reading
I watched The Theory of Everything while on a long haul flight 30,000 metres over Alaska. My lasting impression from the film revolved around the care Stephen Hawking received from his wife, family, friends and colleagues.
The story line I took away from the screen was that Stephen Hawking developed his theories and had the opportunity to expand intellectually contrary to the devastating decline of his body because others cared for him.
“There’s no place like home” repeats Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, tapping her little sparkly red shoes . Here I am in Oz and I’m so aware that home is where I want to be. When it’s raining on a cold Sunday afternoon home is where the hearth is warm and the kettle boils ready for tea. When your feet ache from shopping all day home beckons with the opportunity to rest up on a long sofa. After a wonderful evening with friends my bed invites me to languish cozily under the covers but it’s important to get out.
We are all homing pigeons, each of us stack up memories that revolve around our homes and families. We can be ourselves in the privacy of our own homes. Our kitchens reflect our tastes, our decor reflects our personalities and our lifestyle is reflected in all our interior choices. Homes are unique, intimate and wholly our own space. We can hide from the world, we can rejuvenate, we can rest and recuperate, we can prepare ourselves and gird ourselves for our next challenge.
The Strength 2 Strength program for carers is specifically designed for family members of people with spinal cord injury: