© Stefan Voitl

2018 is the year I’m going to be a dad

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This is the time of year that most of you will start reflecting on the past twelve months. This year, I will not. Actually, the future is the only thing that counts for me now. The reason for this new outlook on life is that my fiancée and I are expecting our first child in January. A child that was - just to clarify - absolutely planned. :-)

Now that the predicted birth date is approaching fast, we have already set up a cot, and are busy getting the tiny baby things in order, I find myself preoccupied with countless thoughts and concerns.

I suffered a serious accident thirteen years ago and have been paralysed from the neck down ever since. I can no longer feel my body properly. I cannot move my arms and fingers, let alone my legs. Our little girl will notice my predicament sooner rather than later. My interactions with her will be limited. I won’t be able to pick her up when she’s sad or run after her when she takes her first steps. My future wife will have to shoulder many additional responsibilities alone - dressing her, changing her nappies, and all sorts of duties that may arise spontaneously.

I already know that she will be a great mother and manage the new situation with loving self-assurance. Our respective parents, siblings, and friends will support her. They will all teach our little girl things that I can no longer due to my spinal cord injury. They will show her how to tie shoe laces properly. They will teach her how to ride a bicycle and how to swim. They will run around with her and help her build her first snowman.

My biggest wish is that I could do all that with her and for her. I am full of hope that the day X, on which a cure is announced, will arrive and I am staying fit to be ready when it does.

Until then, I will do my utmost to be a good father - despite my limitations. I will read stories to her while she’s sitting on my lap. I will be there for her when something troubles her. And I will help her find her own way through life. I want her to grow up to be a self-confident and happy individual.

I wish you all a merry Christmas surrounded by your loved ones.

Yours truly,
Wolfgang Illek



Spinal cord injuries must become curable. Thank you for your support.