On the evening of August 28, 1999 my life changed forever. It was the Saturday before my final year of high school would commence. I was a sixteen- year-old girl with my entire life ahead of me. I was a gifted athlete, talented pianist, and avid student. I was excited for a year filled with memories of friends, playing my favourite team sports and graduation. I had plans to attend university and play on the basketball team.

That Saturday evening, I was in a horrific car crash. I was driving my car home on an unfamiliar road, when the paved road suddenly changed to gravel and the car swerved out of control. The car flipped, rolling heavily on the driver’s side roof, before landing upright. The roof was forced into my skull, compressing, and finally, crushing the vertebrae in my neck. I would soon learn from doctors that my spinal column had been damaged beyond repair. I would never walk again; I would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

As classes commenced at my high school, I was undergoing multiple surgeries to attempt to repair my destroyed vertebrae and spinal column. My C1 and C2 vertebrae were broken and my C6 and C7 had been crushed and shattered. The C6 and C7 had ripped through my spinal column sheath and rendered me a complete quadriplegic. According to specialists, with the most intense physio therapy, I might be able to relearn how to feed myself.


By Vanessa Rogers

Photo by David Ford