Late in 2012 I suffered a life threatening illness that lead to nine days on life support, almost eight months in hospital and multiple surgeries including the amputation of both legs below the knee, my right hand and all of the fingers off my left hand. But I survived and I saw a choice between denial and depression or acceptance and I chose to accept and embrace. In April 2013, after five months of intensive rehabilitation, I was finally able to return home and four days later I returned to my role as Traffic & Transport on the APLNG project with Origin Energy. I have since learnt to not only walk again but with the support of my amazing partner Craig, family, friends, colleagues and even strangers I am now living my life to the fullest extent I possibly can.
Prior to becoming ill, I was a fit, healthy young woman and a few months ago I had reached a point where I longed to be able to return to the fitness level I’d had before. I contacted numerous organisations, joined my local gym and even researched adaptive exercises for amputees online however I still didn’t feel I was going to be able to reach my goal of getting fit and competing in the Bridge to Brisbane 5km race this year…and then I discovered Evolution to Wellbeing (evo), an outdoor fitness company run in 20 locations in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Their website drew me in because not only did they offer group sessions in my area and mobile personal trainers, but it had a purpose…to give back to those less fortunate through a charity organisation called You Move Me, a project that helps underprivileged Bolivians who have become amputees. With evo I could aim to achieve two goals in one place…to get fit and to find a way to help!
After contacting the owner of evo, Mike Britton, and sharing my story, Craig and I flew down to Sydney where we met Mike and a number of the evo trainers. After sharing my story and my desire to help other amputees, I was extremely lucky to be appointed as the ambassador of You Move Me. I have been training with evo trainer Amy Bridle and became a member of the Sporting Wheelies gym. I have committed myself to now not only complete the Bridge to Brisbane race this year but compete in the 14km City to Surf race in Sydney next year. I am also hope to travel to Bolivia in 2016 to see first hand the incredible work being done by the You Move Me project and between now and then I will endeavour to raise awareness of the positive impact the organisation is having on those receiving prosthetic limbs.
I had already decided 2014 was going to be my year and I have many items on my bucket list to tick off this year. I will return to driving, continue to work part time in a new role as my contract with APLNG has finished, travel inter-state and overseas, get fit and healthy, participate in the Bridge to Brisbane, spend quality time with friends and family, continue to meet amazing people, inspire as many people as I can and live each day to the max. I won’t say that what I have gone through is by any means easy or that it hasn’t largely impacted on both mine and my partner’s lives, but as I mentioned earlier, I made a choice very early on to embrace the new me and live the life I’d been spared to the full. If I can inspire just one person to turn their life around through motivational speaking, my social media pages or just by meeting them in person then I’ve achieved one of my many goals!