A nasty fall in 2018 would be the start of an ongoing journey of self-discovery for Brisbane member Lachy Chapman.
Mr Chapman shared his story of sustaining paraplegia as part of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week, running nationally from 2 to 8 September.
“Going through a trauma like that forces you to really find out who you are,” Mr Chapman said.
“During my many months in the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Spinal Injuries Unit, I started to focus on the positives of my accident.
“I built life-long connections with my fellow patients and rebuilt relationships with family and friends.
“When I left the Unit I found myself enjoying things I hadn’t done for years, such as sports.”
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week highlights current issues impacting people with spinal cord injury, with this year’s theme being NDIS – Planning for Success.
Mr Chapman said the NDIS was difficult to navigate but had the potential to be a great resource for Australians with a disability when participants could make the most out of their plan.
“Having only just sustained my injury last year, I had no idea what services and equipment I would need or what my ideal plan would even look like,” Mr Chapman said.
“I decided to get some professional help from Spinal Life Australia who helped me navigate the barriers of the system and develop a plan that has restored my independence and confidence.
“I feel very privileged to live in a country where such a scheme exists to empower me and others with spinal cord injury to live happy and fulfilling lives.”
Mr Chapman has since joined Spinal Life to provide peer support advice and mentorship to other people in the same position he was once in, as well as driving advocacy activities to create more accessible and inclusive health services for people with disabilities.
This includes physical barriers to accessing health services, as well as increasing the knowledge of health professionals about the complex effects of spinal cord damage.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week is a national initiative of the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance, representing eight of the country’s leading spinal cord injury organisations.
For more information, visit spinal.com.au/sciaw