Adjusting to life in a body completely different from the one you’re used to is an unimaginable experience for most – yet this is the reality for people who newly become paralyzed following accidents or diseases. For New Zealander, Amanda Lowry, a physically fit and very active woman, becoming paralyzed was never a part of her life plan. When she broke her neck diving off her surfboard, suddenly her injury and subsequent tetraplegia, called quadriplegia in the U.S., changed everything, well nearly everything, in her life. Lowry and her partner and two young children went through an intense adjustment following Lowry’s accident, including extensive physical therapy, the everyday challenges of navigating in a town with poorly designed curbcuts, and the necessity to build a new home since their old house was not accessible. Lowry and her partner, Gemma, have elected to share their experience in a documentary by AttitudeLive, titled “Amanda’s New Life.” The film offers a genuine look at the challenges that go along with quadriplegia. Yet the story also explains how Lowry and her family developed a new life, as Lowry returns to her old job, delights in the progress she makes in physical therapy, and finds new physical release and fulfillment when she swims and joins a wheelchair rugby team. I would highly recommend watching the documentary, which can be viewed here. Whether you yourself or a close friend are going through something similar, or you just want to widen your worldview, the film explores how a very real family faced an unexpected hardship and are beginning to come back even stronger.
Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.