Client Spotlight – Laura S.

My name is Laura Stark, and in the summer of 2016 I decided to embark on a cross country cycling trip with a group called Bike and Build. We would be cycling almost 4000 miles coast to coast while advocating for affordable housing. 3000 miles into my trip, a teammate, Anne, and I were hit by a distracted driver. Anne did not survive the collision, and I was paralyzed from the chest down.

Being paralyzed has completely changed my world around. The first year was tough; I had to relearn how to do almost everything! It was most difficult having to rely on others and always ask for help. I had always been stubbornly independent and, honestly, I loved a good challenge. Living with a spinal cord injury tested that balance between wanting to challenge myself and needing to ask for help.

After my collision, I had only one goal- to finish my cross country bike ride. Once I had found my independence again, much of my therapy was dedicated to accomplishing this mission. Transferring on and off my bike, building up my endurance, and figuring out a good routine were some of my main focuses. Once I figured these things out and while I was waiting to start my trip, I began looking around for a place to continue improving. This is when someone recommended checking out Walk The Line. I instantly felt at home with Walk the Line and met people who were as determined as I was to meet my goals.

After finishing my cycling trip this past summer, I’d realized all that I had been working towards was now complete. I felt a little lost and desperately needed a new focus. When I started back up at Walk The Line, my trainers helped me find that focus- walking!

When I found out I was paralyzed, I’d assumed I would never use my leg and core muscles again. In my sessions with WTL, all the focus is on activating those muscles and teaching my upper body to relax. My favorite thing we’ve started incorporating into my sessions is using the spin bike. It’s so cool to see my legs back in action riding a bike- something I hadn’t ever dreamed of doing again!

Aside from focusing on walking, I’ve focused on taking advantage of all life has to offer! I’ve found lots of joy in trying out new sports and constantly asking myself, “Why not?”! Cycling will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’ve recently fallen in love with skiing and wheelchair basketball. I had never tried either before my injury! Like I said, becoming paralyzed had completely changed my world. It’s opened up so many opportunities that I would’ve never had and for that I am thankful!