“I try to move with my life in a positive and active way”

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Sabrina Ferri is an active, self-confident woman from Brazil. Her life changed completely in May 2008 when she fell of a swing. She shared her story with us.

Please share with us how you sustained your spinal cord injury?
I was at the beach called Praia do Rosa, in Santa Catarina (Brazil) and there was this swing, which consists of a wooden board on a pendulum. I always liked to invent tricks and have fun on it and one day I tried a maneuver that made me fell from a height in the sand and that’s when I suffered my spinal cord injury. It committed the C4 and C5 segments, which means I can’t move anything below my shoulders. 

What was your first thought after the accident?
The moment I fell, I fainted and I was unconscious for a few minutes. As soon as I opened my eyes, I tried to get up but I couldn’t, I felt my body immobilized. My friend held my hand and I no longer felt anything, that’s when I realized how serious my accident was. I tried to keep calm because it was on the beach, so many people gathered around me and I didn’t want others to freak out with that situation. 

How has your life changed since your injury?
It changed completely. Actually, it is difficult to think of what remained the same. I've always been an active person, practicing many sports and now I can’t because of that day. Nevertheless, I try to move on with my life in a positive and active way. I go to physical therapy every day (Monday to Friday) to prepare my body and be optimistic in case I move again. 

Which are the biggest barriers in your everyday life?
In my situation, I really miss my arms because I’m not able to catch anything. If I could move them, it would help me a lot and I wouldn’t be so dependent on others the way I am now. I miss my independence, because I always have to be with a nurse or friends to help me doing things, even simple things in my routine. One of my only independent moments is when I’m working. In my office, I have a computer that moves from a point on my glasses so I can send emails, type, use the skype and that’s how I control everything in my company.

What are the most positive aspects in your life?
My positives aspects are based on thinking that it's not because I can’t move I'm going to stop doing things, such as traveling. I’ve already visited beautiful places round the world with my friends. When you have this disability, you can’t just give up and let go. The barrier that stops you is inside of your head. Researching and studying about a cure also motivates me as a positive thing in my life.

What are your dreams for the future?
I have this project with a friend who is already involved in this area of a documentary about people who have suffered an injury like mine. I find it interesting to show people what is the injury itself, the post-accident, how people deal with this in their lives and so on, because many people don’t know anything about it. 

What are your hopes for spinal cord injury research?
I want to see neuroscience - which is the medical area that develops least – growing and seeking a treatment for spinal cord injuries. In my opinion there is a lack of investment in this area. I want to see people healing even if it won’t benefit me, because I know my case is quite severe.

How do you like the idea of the Wings for Life World Run?
Wonderful! I already took part in the World Run 2014 and it was awesome. It's a great initiative. Everyone talks about accessibility, adaptations and so on but this idea is completely innovative. It’s also pretty cool that people in wheelchairs are able to participate. 

Thank you very much Sabrina!

Sabrina Ferri is a member of the Cure Girls, a group of women on the mission to reverse paralysis. Find more about the Cure Girls on their website or Facebook page.

If you have sustained a spinal cord injury after an accident and are interested in sharing your personal story, just send a short and informal message to office@wingsforlife.com. We would be very pleased to hear from you!