On the morning of March 3rd, 2007, I hopped out of bed and went about my day. I was excited because I was finally allowed to go to a party that night with my friends. Who knew that would be my last day hopping out of bed? My last day going to the bathroom on my own. My last day using my hands and legs. My last day of life as I knew it.
After getting myself, all dolled up for this party, and of course taking a million selfies, my friends arrived to pick me up. I remember having no idea how I was going to get home. I told my parents I didn’t need to be picked up from the party even though I knew I had no ride home. It’s like I knew I wouldn’t be going home that night.
On our way to the party, there were seven of us in a Chevy Impala which only seats five. Five of us were squished in the back seat with no seatbelts on. The guy driving was driving at a very high speed (110mph). We repeatedly told him to slow down, but he didn’t listen. He hit a large dip in the road and the car went airborne. The car landed and veered into a telephone pole, splitting the car in half. Four of us were ejected from the car. I landed 100ft away from the car on top of the girl I was sitting next to. She saved my life, but sadly lost her own. Everyone else has recovered from their injuries except me.
I don’t remember the exact moment they told me I was a quadriplegic, or if they told me at all, I just sort of knew. I not only broke my neck in that accident, but I allowed it to break my spirit as well. I never knew true heartbreak until I realized I would be trapped in a body I had no control over. I lost all movement from the chest down. Not only did I lose my ability to walk, but I lost all hand function as well and some arm function. I was forced to grow up and face these daily challenges that no human should have to go through, especially not a child.
I was broken and embarrassed of my new accessory (my wheelchair). I would cry if I had to leave my house because I didn’t want to see anybody. I thought everybody would stare at me and see me as this poor helpless disabled girl. I thought it would be embarrassing for my family to be seen out with me, to have to push me around in this wheelchair, to have to help me eat and drink, to have everybody staring at us. My family felt the opposite about the situation. They were proud to be seen with me, proud that I was alive and still fighting.
I don’t think I ever would have pulled out of that depression if it weren’t for my support system, my family. My parents brought me home instead of putting me in a home because they knew with their love and support, they could repair my broken spirit. They weren’t going to let me give up that easily. They knew I could overcome this and live a great life. They never gave up on me no matter how many times I gave up on myself. To them I will forever be grateful.
My body may still show evidence of a devastating accident, but my heart and spirit doesn’t. I’ve learned over the years that not many get a second chance at life, so I better make the best out of it. Sure, I still have bad days, but they don’t control my life. I may be not be physically strong, but because of March 3, 2007 I am mentally strong. I rock this wheelchair and live my life without embarrassment. I am me, and I am proud of the badass chick that I have become.
– Follow Kaley on Instagram at @dub_princess