Anniversaries can be either super fabulous or super depressing, depending on what’s being commemorated. In the world of spinal cord injuries, it’s a 50/50 thing, but most look at their SCI anniversary as a sad thing they’d rather not remember.
“Yup, one more year in a wheelchair,” is the thought process, and then there are the others who wildly celebrate the anniversary of their injury, looking at it as they have an amazing survival ability. We all can be vastly different with our coping methods.
From a 40 year old Australian talking about what he misses most to a quadriplegic embracing dozens of adapted sports the first year of his injury, here are three people with spinal cord injuries showing how they manage their anniversaries.
Video #1: Aussie Quad’s 2nd Anniversary; What He Misses & What Gives Him Hope
In our first video from Shane Clifton, a 40 year old dad, husband and C3-4 quadriplegic from Australia, he opens up on the second year anniversary of his injury, which occurred when he rode his BMX bike into a foam pit to break his fall (but the foam didn’t cushion as expected). In this honest video, Shane opens up about how difficult it has been for him.
To make his video worth watching, he’s dubbed it, “7 Deadly Sins,” and he lists seven things he misses most and seven things he’s thankful for. It’s a really great idea. It gives you perspective and allows you to vent.
From missing surfing, orgasming and not having to adhere to a schedule every day to things he’s thankful for such as receiving (some) hand function back and his wonderful wife and kids, this is one profound video.
Video #2: “My First Summer as a Quad” and Trying Adapted Sports
Some people aren’t big talkers, like Joe Stone, a 20 something incomplete C7 quadriplegic from Minnesota. He was living in Montana at the time of his injury since he was absolutely obsessed with the outdoors. His injury in fact was due to a speed flying accident; another hobby Joe loved to do.
After his injury however Joe has been determined to remain active, and the first summer of his injury he took on several adapted sports. Whitewater rafting, off-road hand-cycling, 4×4 mountain biking, and he documented it all with a GoPro camera.
In his video, “First summer post spinal cord injury,” he almost brags at everything he did during the first summer injured, and he has definite bragging rights. Most people with spinal cord injuries don’t even touch these sports until a few years in.
Video #3: Visiting the Site of Your Injury
And from our perennial favorite Andrew Angulo, who has been making videos of his life since his injury, here is his “1 Year Spinal Cord Injury Anniversary” video, which is one of the first videos he made. This video is a mix of both remembering his injury and thanking his family and friends.
Injured in a motorcycle accident, Andrew first visits the site of his injury in his neighborhood and reflects, talking about how difficult the first year has been on everyone. Afterwards, he and his two young boys have some fun with an anniversary cake you have to see to believe.
It can be difficult recognizing your injury anniversary, but whether it makes you sad or feel empowered, it needs to be recognized. Anniversaries remind us of where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and it can’t get anymore important than that.
How do you celebrate your SCI anniversary?
Watch the videos!