Christmas Cheer

Hey Guys,

I can’t believe Christmas is literally right around the corner! This year has just flown and although I am very proud of the things that I have achieved this year, I really also am looking forward to this year being over.

Last year was all about independence for me. Moving out of home, driving again etc., and even though I achieved these things, I got very sick and had quite a lot of hospital visits with a few close calls. Death was cheated yet again! I have pretty much convinced myself that there is definitely someone watching over me, and although I am not a religious person, I really have a newfound belief in god.

So I said to myself at the start of this year that I wasn’t going to have any more hospital visits and my health was my main priority. Well I can happily say that even though I had a short visit back in February, I haven’t been since :)

This year I have put my heart and soul into drawing awareness to spinal cord injury, and also providing options to people living with the injury or who have newly acquired injuries. It is a silent epidemic but I am doing everything in my power to make it as loud as possible! I am constantly being criticised, put down and bullied by people refusing to believe that there is life after SCI, and it is my promise to every spinal cord injured person that I will NEVER stop fighting for what I believe in. I have seen way too much in such a short time to not believe that absolutely anything is possible if we believe in ourselves and block out the negativity.

I have also learned this year that I am way to open and trusting in people that are unfortunately dishonest and manipulative. I thought this was a trait of mine that I had lost after my injury, but it seems it really has stuck around. It is really sad to know that there are people out there that really take advantage of people with this injury. It just disgusts me, but I do believe in karma!

Pretty much everything I have set out to accomplish this year I have achieved. I have really learnt that my recovery is so much more then just walking. Even though walking is a huge factor I have met so many goals that I secretly had set for myself. The biggest thing for me this year was to have a life again. Be social, go back to singing and just enjoy life a bit. I haven’t focused so much on being at the gym, or the physical side of my injury as life had just got too repetitive and I was actually really bored. Going back to singing is a real out for me and it’s something I really enjoy. I might not have an amazing voice but I’m really lucky to have one at all given all my surgeries, so I intend to be as loud as possible :)

Something that I just have to talk about is the organisation I have joined which is Independence Australia, and the program they run along TAC called Spin Chat.

Spin Chat is a program that provides awareness and injury prevention to high school students and I can honestly say I enjoy being a part of this team so much! What I have gained already from not only the other amazing presenters by hearing their stories, but what I learn from the students as well really moves me and motivates me to continue this journey. I recently presented at one of my local high schools, Catholic Ladies College, to the year 9 students, and I was completely overwhelmed by their reactions to my story and the love and support that they showed me. Not to mention hearing some of their own stories reminded me just how powerful anyone can be!

I always talk about other people I have met with this injury that blow me away and inspire me, but the kids I am meeting through these school talks really blow my mind!

I don’t know if it’s the new generation or what but kids these days are built bloody tough!

I have received so many beautiful emails and messages from students that can either relate to my story or have had someone effected by an injury or illness and each time I read these balling my eyes out, I tell myself if these kids are this strong, everyone else ought to be!

Well as we wrap up another year, I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year! Please be cautious over the summer period and if you are travelling over seas please remember to purchase travel insurance – after all, it saved my life!

Love & Light – Rhiannon xx