Even though she was injured over 15 years ago, you can still see remnants of her “old life” just by looking at her. A former model and go-go dancer, Teri Thorson, a Canadian Paralympian, as well as a fashion designer and mother, is one of the toughest low quads you’ll ever meet.
She’s also not afraid to go deep and talk about how she was able to overcome her dark early days post-injury. A font of awesome advice, check out the story behind one of the strongest women to hail from Canada, Teri Thorson.
Why she’s fearless
Teri’s arrival into the world of spinal cord injuries was definitely an abrupt one. She was injured in a car accident in Australia with friends while vacationing in 1997. Her friend who was driving was going 87 miles an hour on a gravel road. When they took a turn, the car flipped three times with the roof landing on her head. She woke up a C7-8 quad, and quickly learned the seriousness of her injuries.
It took her a little bit however to get back into the groove of things, following the great advice of still following your dreams and not getting frustrated. Although she was destined for wheelchair racing, she didn’t get her first racing chair until 2001. At her level of injury, typically competitive wheelchair racing isn’t possible. As she got better though, she couldn’t believe how much stronger she became.
She was able to get rid of her PCA’s entirely, becoming fully independent as a result of her training beginning in 2002. She was also in the Athens Paralympics in 2004, making the 400 m race finals, which is a huge feat for someone with a C7-8 injury. She unfortunately however had to retire early after a wrist injury. At her level, a wrist injury pretty hard to come back from.
So she moved onto her next big goal in life – to become a fashion designer. This was a dream of hers before her injury, and she was determined to make it a reality. In 2007, she launched Normal?, a clothing line for men and women with seated bodies. The line took a brief hiatus the last few years, but is coming back strong. Check out a fashion show of her line from 2011
Another thing Teri has done since retiring is become a motivational speaker, speaking on behalf of the Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion Foundation. She speaks frequently at schools in her area in Victoria, British Columbia, openly talking about her disability and how she’s able to do everything in life.
In 2009, her life changed again when she became a mother, having a baby boy Lucian at home, with a birthing doula. She was an insistent on having her baby as naturally as possible too, and was able to do completely safely, only needing the help of forceps at the very end. Read more about her amazing birth story on HerScoop
I think the thing I like about Teri the most is the fact she’s been able to get everything she’s wanted in life despite her spinal cord injury; you have to give credit where credit is due. While her life is certainly a little bit slower these days, being a mom does that to you, the impact of her influence on people simply by being who she is has never been stronger.
Visit her site: TeriThorson.com
Have you worn any of Teri’s fashions?
Watch a video of Teri