What I Now Know: Sarah Foley - Reeve Foundation

Dear Sarah,

Just 10 hours ago you were on top of a mountain, telling your new love how perfect your life was. As you flipped over on that ATV, your bones couldn’t compete with the weight and your spinal cord was compressed. When you wake up, you will be unable to move or feel your waist, hips, thighs, knees, calves, feet or toes, and will immediately be terrified by the inability to breathe. You will feel like you are still in a dream, and that feeling of being in between two worlds of wake, slumber and disbelief will stay with you for a very long time.

I know it is difficult to see right now, but this gift will make you stand out in unique ways and create a visual representation of what it looks like to conquer one’s struggles. Your beautiful brain is still perfectly functioning, and you will discover just how alive you really are. You will unleash a force from within that will propel you to new heights. Your ascent will catch the heart and attention of millions of people, and you are now part of a select group of people who have also been gifted intensity, resilience and purpose. This new internal power and heightened abilities will turn your dreams of impacting others into a reality!

You will develop a new communication with your body and your true self. This communication will be a work in progress so have kindness and patience with yourself as you stumble through it. Your body has been stabilized by metal rods, plates and pins. The doctors are doing their job, the physical and recreational therapists are ready to do theirs, your support system is banding together and will serve their roles with so much love, and when you wake up, your vertical journey will begin. There is no right or wrong way, simply your way, your pace, and your story. The only judgment that will hold you back is the judgment you will place on yourself to do it perfectly. Yet, in time you will see how much beauty is in the imperfection.

Where there is intense high, you must expect intense low. You will experience pain like you’ve never imagined. The heartache and loss will suffocate you. Your body will burn and ache daily. Your world as you knew it has crumbled. You will sift through the pieces, bewildered by how something so ugly could happen to such a beautiful kind soul. As you begin to rebuild, you will realize the tragedy was placed to serve you. The sustained phenomenon will serve your growth, it will be layered with elevated awareness and will lead you to fulfill the calling you’ve always craved since you were a little girl.

Above all else, stay committed to your personal healing. Never forget about the parts of your body that you cannot feel or move the way you used to. They are still a part of you and they did not do this to you. Forgive them. Love them. Stay connected to them. Stay connected to your body, to your sexuality, to your friends, to your personal wellness, to your word, to your standards, to your dreams, to everything you love about yourself. The art of connectedness is powerful, and it will carry you through any trauma or drama.

There will come a day when you will actually love your body more than ever before. This injury will provide a new perspective on health and wellness. It is also the catalyst for you to embark on the wildest healing journey and open the door to energy, therapies, group healing, movement, dance, strength training, meditation and self-love - all of which you will combine to provide a healing system for others in similar situations. You will become a Disability Icon and completely redefine what it looks like to have a disability.

Your greatest achievement will be your ability to show up for yourself. You will rise above what you think you ‘should’ do and finally think and speak for yourself. This will not happen overnight, however, take comfort in knowing how crucial all the discomfort is - that is where the magic, the growth, and the elevation take place.

You always believed deep down you could, so you will. Your purpose is to be a voice for all the women who don’t fully believe they can, so they won’t. You have been perfectly packaged for this mission - your determination, your trauma, your healing, your style, your frustrations, your vivacious personality and even your platinum hair, have all been wrapped up and been placed on a rolling platform.

Rise up girl, you are now the Vertical Blonde.

- Sarah

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About the Author - Reeve Staff

This blog was written by the Reeve Foundation for educational purposes. For more information please reach out to information@christopherreeve.org

Reeve Staff

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.