A Path to Independence

Kate Giles
Summary 
This week is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week. I spoke to Lachie O'Brien about his spinal cord injury and the Spinal Cord Awareness campaign. Lachie was injured playing sport. At first, Lachie wondered what he would miss, but his positive attitude allowed him to cope. Lachie is still passionate about sport and hopes to win gold in the Paralympics one day. He also has a desire to help others and is an ambassador for Spinal Cord Awareness Week. Lachie says it's a great opportunity to let others know that life can still be good.
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Kate Giles on 12/11/2012
Lachie in a park, looking to the camera
Lachie O'Brien 220_180

I'm still the same person as before.

This week is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week. The aim is to raise awareness about spinal cord injury. Recently I spoke to Lachie O'Brien. Lachie can no longer walk due to an accident at rugby training two years ago.

Rugby Accident

I had just finished my Year 11 mid-year exams and was looking forward to the Queen's Birthday long weekend. I went to rugby training but during the session a training drill went wrong. The injury left me with C7 quadriplegia. Lachie said.

At first, Lachie was confused and his first thoughts were What's happening and am I going to be able to play again.

Positive Support and Attitude

During his time in hospital, Lachie began to realise what he would miss. At first he was in shock. But then with all the positive support and care around him, he began to accept his predicament. He says, I've always been a bit of a day-dreamer and I'm sure this helped. My parents and school mates were great. Everyone who visited me was happy. And so, I learnt that life goes on steadily. I also believe your ability to cope with whatever happens to you in life reflects your attitude. And I've always had a positive attitude.

Lachie continues, Humour is a big thing and has also helped me a lot. And you need to have a passion.

Continued Passion

Sport is still Lachie's passion and he now has his sights for the future set on the Paralympics and in particular achieving gold in athletics.

Another desire is to help others. As a motivational speaker, Lachie is one of the ambassadors for Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (SCIAW).

Stepping out for Independence

SCIAW runs from 12th to the 18th November.

Steps for Independence is scheduled for Friday 16th. People are being asked to get a group together to walk. It doesn't matter where you walk as long as you count the steps.

Leading the Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week, the disability service provider Independence Australia notes Each day Victorians take thousands of steps, and they take almost every one of them for granted. But at 12 noon on November 16, Victorians will step out for the 12,000 Australians who cannot walk due to a spinal cord injury.

Accessibility Weekend

And then, Accessibility Weekend follows on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th. And in support of this weekend, many attractions are opening their doors to those in wheelchairs and their carers free of charge.

Great Opportunity

I asked Lachie what this campaign means not only to him, but also to others with spinal cord injuries. It's a great opportunity to let others know what those with spinal cord injuries are about. And most importantly, to show others that we can still live a good life Lachie says. And for Lachie? To show I'm still the same person as before but my life has just been tilted a bit.

More on Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week can be found on the following links:

Steps for independence

Independence Australia - spinal cord awareness

 

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