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Winning at life! Rebecca's story ...

In 2020 NZST's Annual Appeal was based on the theme "Winning at Life!"

Rebecca and family

Rebecca's Story

Rebecca was 21 when a car accident left her a paraplegic. Just like that she’d gone from “the key to the door” to “what the heck just happened?”

While Rebecca was in the Burwood Spinal Unit her family, friends and even co-workers made the drive from Dunedin to visit her and that was her first “I’ve got this” moment … she knew she had amazing support, and that support was going to help her get through whatever was coming.

When Rebecca eventually went back home she was able to return to her pre-accident job with great support from her line manager – that was a real confidence booster. Until it wasn’t … the owner of the business didn’t have the same faith in her abilities and kept insisting she could only do menial tasks. “That was so de-valuing – I left. I guess that was a lesson in the ups and downs that go with this journey – you have to keep finding your drive to keep moving.”

And man, did she keep moving! She and her best friend did their OE in Europe for 2 ½ months! Talk about diving in at the deep end! This trip provided so many “I’ve got this” moments … it was either get this or go home … and going home wasn’t an option. Rebecca realised flexibility is key and you do what you need to do, to get where you want to go … even if it’s having your friend hold your legs “wheelbarrow” style while you hand climb up three flights of stairs in a French backpackers! She learned so much about how much she could do. Her confidence was up, she was winning at life!

Prior to her accident, scuba diving was huge for Rebecca – and she thought she’d lost that along with the use of her legs. When she found she could go back to diving, that was another massive “I’ve got this” moment … “Life’s going to be okay ‘cause I’ve still got diving”.

A challenge that hadn’t really been considered when Rebecca was only 21 was that of children – she’s now step-Mum to two great kids. Having not had everyone grow and learn together with her paraplegia, she’d really worried about all the things she couldn’t do with them. She needn’t have – earlier this year, Rebecca, her husband Daniel and the kids – Corbin and Stella – took on the X-Race Challenge. It’s a family race where each parent pairs off with one of the children, and then as a team they undertake a series of physical challenges. Working together, Rebecca’s family aced it. Winning at life as a full-on family affair! And they inspired others around them as they did it.

Rebecca’s fears of all she might not be able to do with the kids were pushed out of the way by the experience of what they’d just achieved. And that’s the real essence of winning at life … pushing through the fear of the unknown, and finding your own way, your own path – and celebrating your “I’ve got this” moments.