Kristy Tymos doesn’t let her spinal cord injury hold her back from living a fulfilling life. When she was 19 years old, she sustained a spinal cord injury after falling asleep while driving. Ten years later, Kristy still strives to overcome obstacles in her own life and inspire others to do the same as an Ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation.
Kristy is half-way through law school at UBC, and she is the Vice-President of the Law Students’ Society. Kristy loves researching interesting questions and working with people, so law offers Kristy many opportunities for a challenging and rewarding career.
This summer Kristy got married, and she and her husband, Carrick, spent their honeymoon camping in Washington, Oregon, and California. With all the lovely wedding gifts Kristy and her husband received this summer, she loves having friends and family over for dinner.
Kristy credits her successes to the amazing support network around her. She feels blessed to have involved grandparents, dedicated parents, devoted sisters, charming nephews, loyal friends, kind colleagues, committed care workers, friendly neighbours, and a lovely dog in her life.
1. Describe yourself in 5 words.
Authentic, ambitious, adventurous, advocating, & approachable.
2. What are you passionate about?
Doing my best in whatever circumstances I face!
3. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
A bus driver has refused to take the extra few minutes to load me onto the bus, and at that moment, I was unusually too weak to advocate for myself. A kind-hearted stranger spoke up for me, and I was so appreciative to have someone else fight for my inclusion. Not all of us are strong enough to speak up for ourselves all the time. Increasing our responsibility to others is the gift we give ourselves, because when a community that protects all members is the norm, this same community won’t allow our struggles to fall through the cracks. Where we have an influence, we have the ability to make a difference.
4. What is your favourite quote?
“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained”— Helen Keller
5. Describe a challenge you have overcome and how you dealt with it.
A challenge I have overcome is feeling comfortable in my own skin. With an acquired disability like a spinal cord injury, it can take a while to have positive thoughts about your changed body again. My confidence didn’t start to pick up until after my mom had a photographer do portraits of myself and my two sisters. My sisters are gorgeous, and it was hard to subjectively feel beautiful alongside of them. There was something transformative about seeing professional photographs that provided some much needed objectivity.
6. If you could remove one barrier what would it be?
Because my disability is visible, I often receive more focused attention in public. The public is generally quite lovely, but as a young woman with a disability, I am frequently addressed by strangers as "sweetie" or "hun." With the challenges that I face and the career I am entering into, I place more value on my strength and firmness than my sweetness. The impact of language is profound; please help me speak out, achieve more, and change the world by encouraging my strength. If you meet me in the future and you aren’t sure how to address me, kindly ask me, and I will gladly tell you my name.
7. What are you most grateful for?
On my first date with my husband, he fell in love with me when he heard me laugh. Quite frankly, my laugh is more of a giggle than a full-out laugh, but I’m grateful my ability to laugh has got me through some difficult situations. In the end, my ability to laugh has come full circle in bringing me much happiness as well.