Yvonne Michaud Captain of The Flying Chickens
ABOUT MY INJURY
On May 30, 2013 I attached my Giant Revel 29er mountain bike onto the back of my stick-shift Tiburon coupe, loaded my Greyhound in the back seat, and left my 3rd floor apartment in Wichita Falls, Texas. I was going to visit my boyfriend, Andrew, who lived in Arlington, for a few days before dropping off the grid the next week for a research assistant internship near Big Bend National Park. Little did I know that the next day I was going to break my back and injure my spinal cord.
On the morning of the 31st I was determined to hit the trails. Wichita Falls doesn’t have much in the way of off-road trails so I wanted to take advantage of my time in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Andrew was busy with a project at the University of Texas at Arlington that day, but I had made plans to go riding at River Legacy Park, one of the many DORBA (Dallas Off-Road Bicycling Association) trails in the area, with a new friend. Unfortunately, she got busy with work so I decided to hit the familiar trail on my own.
My first lap I was feeling good. It was getting hotter by the minute, but I was either riding through tight trees that provided shade or creating my own breeze by speeding through the prairie loops. I was looking out for the turn towards an expert-only section of the trail dubbed the EKG for all its ups and downs, but I missed it. Once getting back to the parking lot I decided I had another lap in me. I needed the exercise, had plenty of water on me, and really wanted to challenge myself on the technical EKG segment. So I headed back out.
On my second lap I made sure not to miss the split for the EKG. The small, tight hills required a certain amount of momentum to be carried from one drop into the next crest. I fell a few times, but I expected that to happen. Each time, I quickly bounced back up determined to get it right on the next hill. On one of these hills I carried a little too much speed down the slope. Too late, I noticed there was a small bump, maybe a foot tall, at the bottom of the trough. As I grabbed my brakes my front tire left the ground and my back tire bucked skywards. I began to rotate over the handlebars in mid-air and my only thought was, “this one’s going to hurt.”
I sustained a break in my T11 vertebrae and have been diagnosed as having a "complete injury" meaning most medical professionals have written me off as a lost cause. Despite this bleak prognosis I have chosen to fight back. In pursuit of recovery, I have done countless hours of physical therapy at a specialty neuro-focused gym, made acupuncture an ongoing part of my health routine, gotten custom carbon fiber leg braces, applied for and received generous grants that I used to buy a recumbent, power-assist tricycle that I pedal (with my legs!), and gotten involved in various adaptive sports/tweaked my own hobbies just enough to allow me to do them while still challenging my nervous system to function. While all of these things are wonderful, none of them have yet yeilded the results I want - TO WALK - and I am increasingly looking to spinal cord injury research to give me a boost in my recovery.
Five years after that unlucky day, I'm the same determined person, but now I'm not fighting to better my mountain biking technique - I'm fighting to rewire my nervous system and get out of my wheelchair. It's hard to imagine not being able to feel or move half of your body but that is my current reality and why I am raising money for Wings For Life to fund spinal cord injury research and find a cure! Not just for me, but for all those impacted by this traumatic injury. If you're able, please donate to this worthwhile cause!
A BIT ABOUT WINGS FOR LIFE
Imagine living life to the fullest and then one-day your worst nightmare becomes a reality. Those living with a spinal cord injury never planned to live life so drastically different from one day to the next. For this reason, and many more, Wings for Life was founded to fund a cure. Wings for Life is a not-for-profit spinal cord research foundation. Wings for Life administrative expenses are generously underwritten by Red Bull; therefore every dollar raised will be donated to world-class scientific research, and clinical trials around the globe, aimed at finding a biological cure for spinal cord injuries.
Please support me in achieving my goal by donating today!
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