Sierra's life changed dramatically in June 2013 when she had a motocross accident preparing for the first Women's West National event. She was racing against the boys in the Junior class when she suddenly cartwheeled over a jump and landed on the ground, with her bike landing on top of her, leaving her paralyzed from the T6 down. Her injury has not stopped her from enjoying life, or getting involved with her community.
Getting involved and creating an inclusive community
Sierra is passionate about her community and does not let her disability stop her from getting involved. Since her accident, she has helped coach the Tofield junior high volleyball team, and has volunteered with the Women's West National motocross events. She recently put together the series website and will be travelling to Nanaimo, Kamloops and Calgary this June to help support the girls. Sierra is also the Social Networking/Public Relations Assistant of the International Six Days Enduro Team Canada, where she hopes to become more involved once her school work slows down.
Sierra is also proactive when it comes to making her community more accessible. Recently, she undertook a project with her Occupational Therapist to assess how accessible her town is, for people with disabilities and for the elderly. They rated places around the city and their findings are going to be presented to the town council and used to push for changes.
Inspiring others and making a difference
Sierra continues to enjoy sports and motocross remains her favorite sport. She has also tried cross country and downhill skiing, and she is striving to get back onto the adaptive dirt bike. She is still on the hunt for a sport to compete in and she strives to represent Canada at the Paralympics one day.
Sierra aims to pursue a career in kinesiology and to work with athletes to help them achieve their goals. "I am the kind of person who would love to contribute to someone else's accomplishments," she says. "Helping someone puts joy in my own world and having a job that allows me to do so would be a dream come true."
Sierra hopes to inspire others. "I am the same person as I was before, I just roll around. When I can, however, I do want to make a difference in this big world." Recently, Sierra gave a presentation to elementary school students where she spoke about being a leader and about pursuing one's goals. She wants to continue to inspire the younger generation and to make a difference for them.
Overcoming challenges and staying positive
Sierra deals with her challenges one day at a time. "The biggest challenge for me at this point is trying to deal with the bladder and bowel issues that come with spinal cord injuries. Another big challenge is trying to accept the fact that life looks different for me now," says Sierra, whose injury is still fairly new.
Sierra's biggest support and role model is her mom. She is inspired by her generosity, her love, and her ability to move past whatever happens and strike a smile. "If I can be anything like her one day as a mother, I will be blessed," says Sierra. In addition, Sierra also receives a lot of support from her brother and her friends, and she belongs to a support group from the motocross community, which gives her the strength to keep pushing every day. Sierra maintains a positive attitude and keeps herself surrounded by positive people. "Today I am just grateful to be alive and well."
And about being happy? Well, Sierra has a few words for us: "You can never be too happy, so why not strive to be the happiest person around? Stand your own ground, be your own advocate. People like us were meant to teach the rest of the world how to live, so embrace life and enjoy it. Most importantly, smile and enjoy the ride. Life is short so live every moment like it is your last!"
We congratulate Sierra on her dedication to making positive change within her community, and wish her every success in making a difference in the future.
The Rick Hansen Difference Maker Program empowers young people to make positive change in their communities. Click here to find out more.
Read more stories of inspirational young Difference Makers here.