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“I look at life completely differently now and I don’t take anything for granted” says Chloe Orr, two months after a car accident that left her paralysed from the chest down.
On her way home from visiting friends in Bath, Chloe, 19, went round a sharp bend too fast and crashed into a tree. Luckily another car was following her and quickly called 999.
“I had slipped out of my seat belt and my body had snapped in half and then was twisted. They instantly knew I would be paralysed because my body was bent in a way it shouldn’t be. The police and paramedics didn’t think that I would survive.
“Being in hospital for the last nine weeks has been very hard. Sometimes I think it wasn’t real and I will eventually wake up one day and I’ll be walking or moving my legs again, but it’s not going to happen and I have to learn to deal with that.”
Although Chloe has been through so much in the last couple of months, her positive attitude has been described as ‘inspirational’.
“It was very difficult at the beginning because I was in so much pain but I kept thinking, I’m one lucky lady to be alive and I may be in pain and a paraplegic but I’m better off than a lot of people and at least I still have my brain and my arms and hands.
“I’m determined to get better and to push myself to become more independent. It’s made me determined to now make something of my life and to achieve more than I would have if I hadn’t had the accident. I’m staying positive because I know that even though I’m paralysed, I’m as normal as everyone else and I will and can still do everything that everyone else can do and I will do it if I put my mind to it.
“I want everyone else to really think about their lives a lot more, live your life to the max, do everything you want to do, don’t take life for granted and appreciate everything in life and the people in it. We can’t be wrapped in bubble wrap but we can make sure we are doing everything in life we have ever wanted to do and just be happy because you can guarantee there is someone else out there having a harder life than you, no matter what position you’re in.
“I look at life completely differently now, I appreciate so much more and don’t take anything for granted anymore. I appreciate my life so much more and the things I do and say.
“This whole accident has been an emotional roller coaster. At the beginning I knew what had happened and what was going on, but once I was outside and moving around and doing things for myself, I realised how difficult everything is and how hard very simple things in life is when you’re paralysed.
“Because I’m paralysed from my chest down, things like sitting up without a back rest is extremely difficult because I don’t have the muscle or the balance to hold myself up.
“It’s a very odd feeling not being able to hold yourself up. It’s like riding a bike and at you first when you take one hand off the handle bars you’re a bit wobbly and when you take two hands off for the first time you also wobble a bit and almost fall forward to hold on again and then take your hands off and hold your arms out to try and balance yourself again. The more you do it the longer you can keep your hands off, you then eventually get your balance and can do it. I’m at the stage of being able to hold myself up without my hands and arms, just not for a long time without wobbling.”
Since the accident, friends and family of Chloe have been raising money for vital equipment she will need for when she goes home. The current total is over £2,600, but continues to rise.
“There is a lot of different equipment out there to help me become more independent and to help me do the same things as everyone else, so I’m not left behind, and that is what the fund raising is for,” Chloe added.
“I’m totally overwhelmed by how much money people have donated on the fundraising page that my colleagues at Pets at Home started.
“I’m also extremely thankful to my godfather Paul Newton for taking part in Tough Mudder to raise money for me. I’m eternally grateful to everyone who has donated or done anything to help in the last couple of months. I just can’t thank everyone enough, I’m so grateful for everyone’s help, generosity, kindness and love.”
To donate visit www.gofundme.com/Chloe-s_Collection