Wheelie True Stories

Celebrating the Day You Were Injured

Shawn was injured May 14, 2009. James was injured June 25, 1997. Both were passengers in single vehicle car accidents.

Call it an anniversary, a re-birthday, a second chance day, a chair-versary, an injur-versary, or call it nothing, but everyone in a chair has one; the day you were injured, or the day your body decided it needed wheels to move about. Some people hate that day; they try to ignore it each year when it rolls around, because let’s face it, it was a shitty day. Our wheel loves tend to have a bit of a different outlook on it. So, here’s what they have to say…

James says…

As of today, I’m now 22 years into a wheelchair…

While most people consider this a sad day I tend to look at it as a reminder of the extra time I’ve been able to extend on this planet. Obviously, there are pros and cons to what happened to me this day 22 years ago but I think as a whole it has definitely improved my appreciation for life and those around me. Every single year I reflect on my accident, maybe not as much as I used to, but I do acknowledge it. It’s funny because I don’t tend to look back very often because I can’t change the past, I feel I can live more in the present.

Accident dates are no doubt an emotional experience for all of us and in many cases, more so for our loved ones then it is for us. We can’t help but reflect on the circumstances as the day approaches or once the day arrives. However, the one thing that we can appreciate is the present situation and how we have been given a second chance to continue experiencing life with a new perspective and understanding. Life is precious, fragile and undefined so live it to the fullest and appreciate the moments we do have since we’re all aware that there will be an end, BUT we’re not there yet…
Happy Chair-versary!

Shawn says…

I’ve never really been the type to sit and dwell on my circumstances. When I woke up in the hospital 10 years ago and they told me I was paralyzed, they expected me to get angry and upset, but my initial reaction was to ask what comes next. Not because I was in denial, or shock, but because I accepted my injury right away and just wanted to learn to get on with my life; I mean, let’s face it, I was lucky to be alive. And every May 14th since then I still feel that same gratefulness for being given a second chance at life, even with the added bonus of wheels.

Every year on my chair-versary, my wife likes to do a little something to acknowledge the day; usually it’s just a card or a letter and some of my favorite candy. This year marked 10 years since the car accident that completely changed the course of my life. It felt like a milestone and I wanted to do something to celebrate… so I threw a party. I invited everyone over to my house and then out to a local pub, but there was a catch; everyone had to be in a wheelchair. I thought I would have troubles convincing some of my able bodied friends, but everyone showed up and spent the night in chairs and it was a blast! Who knew you could fit 20 wheelchairs in my living room?!

A lot of people may think it’s weird to celebrate the day that I nearly died and ended up a T4 incomplete paraplegic in a wheelchair, but I want to explain it to you. A lot of positive things have come from that accident. I am a thousand times more outgoing and personable than I was before my injury. I have met some of my best and closest friends through wheelchair sports and groups. I have accomplished things that I never would have dreamed possible, like still being able to build houses. I’ve had the opportunity to travel more since being injured than I had before. I have a beautiful family and a life that I love. That’s not to say that there aren’t some hard days, because there most definitely are. But I’m alive; I’m pretty sure that’s reason to celebrate on its own.

So, call it what you want, but the fact of the matter is it happened. How or if you choose to acknowledge your day is up to you, but we are all lucky to be alive.

Pushing on… James & Shawn


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