DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Restoring hope for recovery: My Spinal Cord Injury Story

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Amanda Perla

I work out and I bleed orange and blue

Shortly after my 18th birthday, I was a passenger in a car accident, leaving me a C6 quadriplegic. After almost 6 months at Shepherd Center and endless hours researching the internet for recovery options, my mom found Project Walk. We made several trips to California and then agreed with them to open up Project Walk Orlando, now NextStep Orlando. Because of NextStep Orlando, I'm not only in the best shape of my life but I've gained back so much strength, stamina and function since opening in 2009. I can independently pedal a spin bike, stand for up to 30 minutes with minimal assistance and take steps with a lift walker.

NextStep

Being active at NextStep Orlando has kept my muscles from atrophying and my bone density strong so I know my body will be ready for a cure when there finally is one. NextStep Orlando has also opened up so many incredible opportunities for me like... introducing me to handcycling, my new favorite hobby and adaptive surfing (with Oceans of Hope Foundation, another great non-profit organization) After almost 10 years of being injured, I've begun to drive and travel on my own... also if it wasn't for NextStep Orlando, I never would have had the confidence to enter a contest (and win) to be featured in a New York Mets calendar! The best thing about NextStep Orlando though is the friendships I've developed with the activity based trainers, other clients and interns. People from all over the world come to NextStep Orlando and it's so amazing to meet them and their families, to learn their stories and to share the same ultimate goal... to walk again!

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