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Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Gidday Everyone!

Over the next two weeks on Channel 7, we are about to see some of the most inspiring feats you could imagine.

I am talking of course about the ParaOlympics.

I wonder what us mortal folk could learn about these amazing human beings?

I am sure she wouldn't mind but I was struck by what Para Cyclist Emily Petricola had to say in the media the other day. She ran a successful PR business, and noticed when she was 27, that she was falling off her high heels when walking around at work. After trying lower heels which didn't help, she also notices numbness in her body. Yes, she was diagnosed with MS.

That day she said she lost a huge part of herself including her identity. Stuff started going wrong with her body every single day - falling over, dropping things etc. Somehow she had to regain confidence in her body to help her self belief. It took a while but a cycling friend was as surprised as she was to find that despite MS, she had natural ability on the bike. Fast forward to today and she now has multiple world titles on the track and is a ParaOlympics medal favourite! And a high school teacher.

How good is that - doesn't that make your skin tingle!

Just imagine the challenges she has and still faces every single day, and the strength she must have to keep her mind positive and focussed.

I personally had a shoulder injury six years ago that stopped my kayak racing career in its tracks. I felt depressed for ages after my specialist told me 'no more kayak racing'. Yet here is Emily, with uncurable MS, saying 'In some ways MS has given me a ridiculous opportunity I would otherwise never have had!'

Just thinking - could it be that it's up to each and everyone of us, regardless of our personal circumstance or challenges, to FIND THE GIFT we all must have? Can our brains and emotions be reset by adversity and trigger our next accomplishment?

I hope that some of our forum members find the ParaOlympics and athletes as inspiring as I do over the next two weeks.

Sorry to rave on a little bit but sometimes I can't help myself!

Please feel very free to share your thoughts. Bye for now - The Bro

7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion
The Bro thanks for your post.
I like watching the paralympics and learning about people’s stories.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Wow! This is truly amazing and inspiring.

Keep at it The Bro!

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Thanks Quirkywords - very much appreciated.

Let's all wish Emily Petricolo the best of luck!

The Bro

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Thanks heaps for your feedback Jax28 - very much appreciated!

Lets all wish Emily Petricola every success!

The Bro

Community Member

I'm still feeling broken. For a few years I couldn't even look at my reflection from a mirror or window... I took down or covered everything that caused a reflection. I even bought a new jug and toaster so I didn't see my reflection. Over-reaction? probably; but the grief and loss was huge. To go from a seriously active life: dancing, walking and hiking, yoga... every day to spinal injury causing from an attack was life threatening in way more than the physical sense. I gave up emotionally and several times came very close to giving up completely. I lost my faith and trust in others and society. It felt like I had lost my life - there are times where it still does.

I am slowly coming to terms with the "new" me. Yes I am still broken BUT i can now walk/shuffle/stumble along (most days) and I am alive and thinking again and even starting to read again (although nothing like the novels and biographies... that I was reading before). So today I have uncovered those mirrors and taken a good look at myself. While I hate so much of what I am seeing especially my physical body; it is still me. I may not be able to paint the delicate murals and other crafts I used to do; but there are other forms of art I can try and loads of new hobbies I have never experienced yet.

Okay, so most days I am literally only capable of crawling for the start of the day. My new mindset is to remind myself that toddlers do that all the time before getting up to walk and then run.

Today has been a huge jump over a massive hurdle and I thank so many folks here for helping me to take that leap. Yes I am broken, but I am rebuilding!

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there Jane 363

Your courage in writing that post is remarkable, as shown in so many special people with an impairment.

Your words about rebuilding and looking forward to new hobbies are inspirational. Please keep it up!

Whilst my Father didn't have the trauma of an attack, he severed his spinal cord in an accident when was an extremely active 50 year old. And that on top of losing his leg below the knee in the second world war. His journey and capacity to cope with this second awful trauma was remarkable but we could still see his struggle of course on most days. His spirit and determination carried him through to almost 90 years of age.

I wonder if you have considered any form of sport? I ask this because today's media here on the Gold Coast has a story on the academy of sport that encourages disabled people to try different forms of sport - archery, basketball, etc etc. There will be similar opportunities in other States I am sure. They are driven by the desire to create a better life for those with disabilities.

I love this quote that I saw today - 'You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great'.

Just a question - what are your emotions when watching the amazing athletes at the Paralympics?

All the very best with how you are coping - it does sound from your post that your spirit is now shining through from the strong active person you were, and always will be.

Happy to chat some more - The Bro

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hey Guys - you may recall my post a few days ago that started this thread about disabled cyclist Emily Petricola, diagnosed with MS at 29yrs of age.

Guess what - Emily won a gold medal, and set a new world record in the process!

Her interview immediately after the event was remarkable for two reasons - her absolute fatigue from giving her all, and the joy she displayed in realising all her efforts and sacrifices were worthwhile.

Reminded me of this inspiring quote I read today - 'You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!'

Aren't the Paralympics great!

All the best - The Bro