Central PA SCI Networking

Sarah W
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Was this your first time meeting a person with a spinal cord injury?  When you met this special person with a spinal cord injury, what was your first reaction?  What were some of your questions?  What do you think about your friend over coming obstacles on a daily basis?  What can you pass on to others?


My memory sometimes fails me, but I believe Shelly is the first person I met and worked with who had a spinal cord injury. I had worked in the hospital, so I was accustomed to people being in wheelchairs, but I would leave them after I drew their blood and more than likely I wouldn’t see them again.

Shelly started coming into the gym with Rick Beard to help develop her muscles. After I received my personal training certificate, Rick let me train with Shelly. I was scared. I didn’t want to hurt her. I didn’t know what her limits were and I was unsure if there was a possibility for me to hurt her more. I was scared to interact with her because I didn’t know what Shelly was thinking. Was she jealous that I’m still walking, running, lifting weights, coming and going on my own? I didn’t want to talk about me because I didn’t want her to be upset. After just a few visits with Shelly she showed me that being in a wheelchair doesn’t have to hold her back from having a life. I never really asked her about what happened or how she felt about her situation. I didn’t have to. Her strong personality and cheerfulness made me at ease and I didn’t care that she was in a wheelchair. I looked forward to meeting with Shelly every week.

I didn’t know Shelly before her accident, but I can’t imagine she changed too much. If anything, I’d guess she is stronger than before. I can’t imagine being an active person and being an athlete, to being bound to wheels, but Shelly would only look at it as a fun ride. She twists all negative aspects to be positive. I admire her and everything she is doing. If anyone has any questions about life in a wheelchair, I could only point them to Shelly.


Thank you Sarah!