Jamie Astwood was all the time one thing of a daredevil baby.
Ten years in the past this week she was dune browsing on the final day of her household’s summer season vacation in Northland. Then simply 10 years previous, Jamie had surfed a number of dunes however none as massive as those at Ahipara, close to Kaitaia within the Far North.
“I believed to myself ‘it is a big one and I’m going to climb proper as much as the highest and it’s going to be good enjoyable’,” she says.
On the best way down, Jamie hit a grass patch on the backside of the dune. She was catapulted via the air.
As she landed she “scorpioned” and broke her again.
Jamie says she remembers how scorching it was as she lay there. She remembers folks peering over her. And he or she remembers not having the ability to really feel her legs.
Jamie is simply one of many virtually 14,000 individuals who have been injured on the sand within the final decade through the interval between December 20 and January 31, in line with ACC knowledge.
However her cautionary story entails probably the most critical accidents. Jamie – who turns 21 this month – is paralysed from the chest down, classifying her as a T4 paraplegic.
Mum Jo remembers being in such a state of shock that she truly felt calm when the accident occurred on January 19, 2013. She sat by Jamie’s facet reassuring her that she wasn’t going to die whereas an aunty, who’s a nurse, spoke to St John on the cellphone.
“I did stroll down onto the sand… and I mentioned to God, ‘it’s worthwhile to handle this as a result of we can’t’. I couldn’t fathom what to do,” says Jo.
Jamie was airlifted to Whangarei Hospital the place she underwent a number of exams and x-rays. The identical day she was then airlifted to Starship Hospital and ended up spending three weeks there.
For every week after the incident, Jamie laid in a hospital mattress with a damaged again as medical doctors waited to see if swelling was inflicting her paralysis earlier than performing a spinal cord surgical procedure.
Jamie then spent two months on the Wilson Centre in Auckland for rehabilitation.
She says it was a troublesome time for her and her household however believes she tailored because of her younger age.
“I hadn’t gone via my teenage years and, you realize, my 20s being able-bodied after which damaged my again,” she mentioned.
“It had occurred fairly early in life.”
Ten years on and Jamie says she’s lived a life regular of an adolescent – she went to high school, to events, has a boyfriend, drives and works.
She and mum Jo say a key isn’t considering of her accidents as a incapacity.
“I can do principally every little thing anybody else my age can do, it simply could take a bit longer or it might simply take a bit of bit of additional thought,” says Jamie, who now works for the police and can also be an envoy for the CatWalk Belief, which helps folks with spinal cord accidents.
“Jamie is a exceptional younger girl,” says belief supervisor Meg Speirs.
“Her positivity is infectious – one thing we are able to all be taught from. Once you converse together with her, you see the particular person, not the chair.”
Jamie says the important thing to her positivity is being grateful for what she does have, like, full arm use.
“It was simply such a high-quality line between having restricted arm use after which having full arm use,” she mentioned.
“I used to be so fortunate to maintain that and I’m so grateful for that.”
Jamie says the injury has formed her into the optimistic, optimistic and provoking girl she is at present.
As she approaches her twenty first birthday she is most grateful for her assist system of household and pals – and changing into absolutely unbiased.
“If it didn’t occur, I wouldn’t be, I don’t assume I’d be the particular person [I am].”
“I’ve learnt so much from the accident – and you’ll’t dwell your life with regrets or else you’ll dwell on the previous.”