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29 Years

Today is the 29th anniversary of my injury.  (Math tells me that, but I don’t believe it. I’m not even 29 years old, right?)

On the evening of July 10 when I was 16 years old, my best friend Barbara and I sat in a swimming pool discussing what it would be like to be paralyzed.

The next morning I left cheerleading practice in an ambulance, having sustained a C6-7 spinal cord injury.

I like to celebrate – or at least commemorate – my injury each year. It’s a celebration that I’ve done more from a wheelchair than I ever would have walking. It’s acknowledging the fact that the support of family and friends has allowed me to thrive and truly live life.

Each year I re-watch the news coverage of my injury. Play-by-play news updates informs the community of my status: Local teen paralyzed; Jenny has surgery; Injured cheerleader returns to school; Jenny Smith graduates from high school. The common thread through each story is the support of my family and friends.

Right now I’m going through a time that feels more difficult even than my injury. I’ve been in the hospital for longer than I was in rehab. I’m having to lean more deeply into my faith than ever. But to be honest, I feel like a dry well. Thankfully, friends and family are supporting me and I have finally learned to accept their help when offered.

Let’s hope that next year’s 30th anniversary will be spent not in a hospital, but on the river rowing, working with my coworkers and, overall, in great health.

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2 thoughts on “29 Years”

  1. So glad to hear from from you, Jenny! “Happy Anniversary???” Bless your heart.
    I often pray for a miraculous healing for you. I cannot imagine how hard life is for you at this point but you are God’s servant and He is with you. It is good to lean more & more on your faith. I am taking a lesson from your struggles.

    In Cristian love,
    Bev

    Like

  2. You are a great inspiration to others Jenny. I was blessed to get to meet you and seeing with you in 2005 with Resurrection Lutheran Church when Steve Oliver was still alive. You both set the example for many to follow. I fell in love with serving the poor and disabled and it still carries on through our ministry as well.
    Thank you for all your service and sacrifice.
    Rick

    Like

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