SCI Superstar: Priscilla Hedlin

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By: Tiffiny | August 17th, 2015 @ 5:35 pm | SCI Superstars |


After our injuries we’re all worried about different things – going back to school, doing things you love again, providing for your family and for many women with spinal cord injuries – will I be able to have children? The answer is a resounding yes, as the renowned Wheelchair Mommy blogger exemplifies.

Priscilla Hedlin is one of the most well-known bloggers for mothers with spinal cord injuries. Priscilla began sharing her story shortly after it happened by starting a Geocities website. She’s officially been blogging on WP in 2008 and her blog covers every aspect of parenting with a spinal cord injury. The depth of information she covers is some of the best out there.

If you’re newly injured and worried about parenting, you can’t get better than The Wheelchair Mommy. Read her journey, from her injury to how she became a blogger, below.

Why she’s fearless

Freshly out of high school, Priscilla was in a car accident, caused by a drunk passenger grabbign the wheel from the driver, leaving her a L1-2. The year was 1999 and Priscilla had just start college and was living with her best friend.

Luckily, sooner rather than later she realized a full life was still possible. Within two years of her injury, she met her future husband Charlie, and after a year and a half (yes, they went old-school style) they were married. The two were married in December 2002 and have been living in Austin, Texas since. In December 2004, Priscilla had her first baby – a boy. She had another boy in 2008, and then one more boy in 2011.

No longer trying for the elusive girl, Priscilla is busy being an amazing mom to her three sons, all the while sharing her life and tips for other moms with disabilities on her blog. And her blog is massive. With over 1200 posts and counting, she shares all aspects of parenting with a spinal cord injury. She also homeschools her children, proving that women with spinal cord injuries can do this as well.

Whether you’re looking for information on family life, wheelchair life, homeschooling or your basic taking care of the home info (taking care of the home and cooking; that kind of thing) you’ll find a post about it on The Wheelchair Mommy. She also has a great section on her wedding and one of the most thorough FAQs we’ve ever seen, answering popular questions from people who visit her blog.

What’s next?

When she’s not blogging, Priscilla is a public speaker as well as an ambassador for Backbones, a SCI peer-mentor organization that goes across the country helping people spinal cord injuries connect. Most recently she was at the Abilities Expo in Houston, Texas representing Backbones. Also known for her style, Priscilla frequently publishes posts on her daily fashion called the Stylish Gimp. Yes, she is non-stop.

But what we love most about Priscilla is her willingness to share her life with the world.  With videos, a very active Instagram account, her blog, as well as being all over social media, she shows the world a spinal cord injury doesn’t have to hold you back.

It’s not easy being so public with so many private things after a SCI, but she does it anyways, helping make our community better.

- Visit her blog: The Wheelchair Mommy

- Follow her on Twitter

- Follow her on Facebook

- Follow her on Instagram

Watch her videos!

- A day in our life

- Pushing a shopping cart from a wheelchair

- Why Wheelchairmommy

SCI Superstar: Andy Hensel

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By: Tiffiny | July 31st, 2015 @ 8:58 pm | SCI Superstars |


“It’s not too bad, it’s just different.” This is how Andy Hensel from Port Pirie, Australia, one of the world’s most accomplished paraplegic motocross racers, now describes what riding is like. A former top 20 freestyle motocross racer, he’s now making records as a paraplegic, discovering the far reaches of what is still possible as a paralyzed motocross racer.

Injured only a few years ago, this 20-something had already had a difficult past. He went to jail for drug charges for 1 year in his late teens. But after his injury, he knew he had to stay on-track. And within a year, he had already figured out how to return to motocross.

Some might think he’s crazy for returning, but that’s why he’s a SCI Superstar in our book. Andy refuses to let his injury win. Read on for his excellent story.

Why he’s fearless

As a boy, Andy fell in love with anything on wheels. Bicycles at Christmas and birthdays quickly got him hooked. Andy first started racing Go-Karts, but by his teens he switched to motocross – FMX – and within eight months of switching over, he was already in the top 20 motocross racers in Australia. He was known for doing his jumps with his flexible legs that’d fly and pose in the air behind him.

But in 2012, while racing at the Australian Underground Freestyle MX, he crashed going 75 mph. He knew the moment he took off he was going to crash, and it was all caught on video, recording the very moment his back broke (he’s now classified as a T7 incomplete paraplegic).

Andy flipped over his handlebars when he landed, his body landing crooked and breaking his back. Since that day, his transition into life as a paraplegic is a work in progress. At the beginning, he did not take the news well, hating doctors were so sure he’d would never walk again. “Tell me I broke my back,” he says, “but don’t tell me I’m not going to walk again.”

Since his injury, he’s been fighting to get as much return as possible, even going to Project Walk in the United States. While there, he was able to walk using a walker. But all the while, he knew he couldn’t stay away from motocross for long. And within 7 months, he was back on the track on a modified 450 motorbike.

What’s next?

But just getting on a bike again was not enough. Andy wanted to prove that even though he was paralyzed, he was more than capable of being as badass as he was before. And in 2014, Andy made history landing the first back-flip on a motorbike by a paraplegic, landing safely in a foam pit (watch). His ultimate goal now that he’s paralyzed – join the Nitro Circus and do crazy stunts for pay (he was likely inspired by our SCI Superstar and Nitro Circus member, Aaron Fotheringham).

Motocross may be different for Andy now that he’s paralyzed, but he’s determined to focus on what he can still do instead of dwelling on a moment he can never take back. This is the attitude all people with spinal cord injuries need to take on to survive. Andy has – that lucky dog – just figured it out a lot sooner than the rest of us.

Would you return to the track as a paraplegic?

- Follow him on FB: Andy Hansel (athlete)

Watch the videos!

- Andy Hensel Paraplegic Dirt Bike Backflip GoPro Footage

- Paraplegic FMX Rider – Andy Hensel | UNSTOPPABLE NUTRI-GRAIN

- Andy Hensel Riding and Recovery (pre-injury footage)