Sometimes it takes a lot to impress me.. Well most times it takes a lot.. Pretty much all the time, truth be told. But I have to say I am now a bit inspired, very impressed, and am truly in awe of a wonderful person I was introduced to.
Meet SaraJo.. SaraJo and I have a lot in common. We are both triple amputees. Both bi-lateral transtibial, and both with finger amputations, on the same hand, no less. We were actually in the hospital at the same time, although back then I had yet to have my surgeries, and I believe she had just had hers.
We are also very different. I was lucky enough to go to one of the best therapy hospitals this side of the Mississippi, and have, in my opinion, the best damned prosthetics team any amputee could have. SaraJo was not as fortunate as I was in that regard. While she had therapy and prosthetics, she had unforeseen setbacks. But those setbacks- well honestly – that is what has me in awe.
SaraJo had a four-wheeler wreck. She had major trauma. She had broken bones and brain surgery to deal with. Some memory loss. But, she pushed ahead. Forward. That takes courage, and lots of it.
SaraJo has essentially taught herself how to do all the things she needs to do to get through her daily routine. I had teams of therapists helping me along, and this young woman did it all by herself! She takes care of her young son and herself quite well. She has pushed herself to do her own strength training and exercises to keep herself fit – and ready – for the time that she can start using her prosthesis. No one made her do it, or told her how. She. Just. Did. It.
She has spunk and attitude. And when I say attitude, I mean a “I can do it!” attitude! And she can. She did it for herself. No ongoing therapy sessions, no ongoing doctor’s care. Just SaraJo, and her drive to continue on with her life.
As I said. I’m a bit in awe of her. And glad for her. So often I get told that I inspire people, and that never sits well with me, but now I think I understand… Because I have met someone that has inspired me to try harder, reach farther, and continue living life on my terms.
So, if you would like to meet who can inspire the inspiring, well, here is your opportunity.
SaraJo hadn’t yet had the opportunity to drive since her accident in 2010. She simply didn’t have hand controls available. I let her try out mine in my truck, and now she has a set of her own to put in her next car.
She drove a lot more than that, but this was the only video we had a chance to get, as the light was fading. She started out in a large parking lot so she could get the feel of the controls, and then off she went! Before the evening driving session was over, saraJo got out on the road, navigated traffic, and then ended up driving nearly two miles back to her neighborhood and to her home.
SaraJo said there was only two things she had left to do… Drive and walk….
She can mark driving off of her list, and I am confident this spitfire of a woman will have that last little thing on her to-do list accomplished very soon.
And I am quite sure I will again be in awe when I get to see her walking.
I am glad I got to meet SaraJo, and I am glad I have been able to introduce all of you to her, as well.
Please feel free to use the comments section below to say hello to this amazing young woman, and mother. And If she just inspired you a bit, why don’t you let her know about it?
I just did 🙂