BEING A SPINAL CORD INJURY SURVIVOR
Hello! My name is Emrah, aka EmBaBa. I am 36 years old, from Turkey and work as a language teacher. In October 2016, I had a motorcycle accident which left me as an incomplete paraplegic in a wheelchair. My doctors were not very optimistic about my possibility to walk again but after an intensive rehabilitation period I spent in hospital, I did it, I can walk and even run short distances. I still have some health problems; my spinal cord injury caused sensory deficit like loss of pain and sensitivity to hot or cold below my waist down. My leg and hip muscles are still weak and I also have a slight foot drop on my left side which restrains me from activities requiring high energy and movement. Despite all, I am grateful for my current situation and I am aware of the fact that I am one of those small number of lucky people who are able to stand on their feet after such a big trauma.
THEY SAID I WOULDN’T WALK, SO I RUN NOW
Within this period, I pushed my limits to gain my muscle functions back, and at the same time have tried to raise awareness for spinal cord injury patients by posting my story on social media and participating in awareness raising events because it is not possible to be aware of the severity of the situation if you have never experienced it yourself or with an acquaintance. In May 2017, I became one of the ambassadors of the Wings for Life World Run and ran 4.24 km for those who can’t. I am still trying to reach as many spinal cord injury patients as possible because I know that all you need is hope to keep your motivation high in this long and challenging process.
THERE STILL EXISTS A REASON WORTH FIGHTING FOR
Have you ever tried to empathize with spinal cord injury survivors’ feelings? Now I want you to think of very small things that you take for granted every day. For example, scratch your itching head, or answer the call of your beloved one on your mobile phone, or stand up and go to the restroom to poo or pee, or take off your shirt and wear a new one. Every year, around the world, between 250,000 and 500,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury and long for doing these simple everyday tasks. If you are still one of those people who have no idea about what difficulties spinal cord injury survivors experience in their lifetime, I can guarantee you that not being able to use their legs or arms is only one part of the story. If you are reading these lines, now is the best time to do something to make a difference in their lives. Spinal cord injury doesn’t have a proven treatment method now, but I can easily say that one of the most important factors that made me bounce back so rapidly is the love circle that was created by my family and friends who made me feel that I was special. Inside this overwhelming recovery period, the most important thing we need is continuous support from our social circle, which will make us believe that there still exists a reason worth fighting for. I know that being with spinal cord injury patient is not easy since it requires lots of patience and responsibility, but if you are with us, we have no reason to fear what is ahead of us.