It was Mothers Day. I was 17 years old and was meant to go and see mum but we decided to go bush bashing with friends first. My boyfriend and I were in the back of a four wheel drive. It was great fun for a while then things just got out of hand. The last thing I remember was my boyfriend yelling at the driver to slow down.
Then I woke up in hospital. I knew things were serious. My parents were really upset. They told me I'd never be able to walk again. When the vehicle hit a bump, I was thrown to the roof crushing the C5 section of my spine. I'm a C5 quadriplegic. I have some use of my arms and hands. Now I need a carer to help me with my daily living needs. I had started a hair dressing apprenticeship. I loved it. But that's just not a possibility anymore. I used to love going out dancing.
I still go out sometimes if I know it's not going to be too crowded. I get a reality check when I see people dancing and think, 'Yeah, I used to do that.' People look at me differently now. Treat me differently. They feel sorry for me. I've lost friends who just don't know what to say to me. I fhink, 'It's just me. Not me in a wheelchair. '
Tegan now works at PBF as a presenter, telling her story to others as part of the PBFPREVENTION youth program.
Most spinal cord injuries can be prevented. The Paraplegic Benefit Fund Australia (PBF) develops and delivers award-winning injury prevention programs. through PBFPREVENTION. to help reduce the number of new spinal cord injuries occurring each year.
Through these diverse education and awareness programs, PBFPREVENTION aims to ease the impact of spinal injuries and reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths on the road, at home, at work, at play and in the aquatic environment. They are designed to positively influence attitudes to safety, raise awareness of serious injury and provide the knowledge and skills to help prevent it.
Objectives of the PBFPREVENTION Program:
- Demonstrate the potential consequences of unsafe behaviour.
- Increase knowledge of the major risk factors that cause accidents.
- Increase knowledge of the impact of serious injury and death.
- Encourage positive attitudes towards safer behaviour.
- Increase awareness of the personal responsibility for choices and the resulting consequences.
- Encourage young peeple to be assertive in communicating safer choices to peers.
- Encourage positive behaviour choices.
For more information, visit www.pbf.asn.au or call 1800 809 780.