Raising awareness, changing attitudes and removing barriers for people with disabilities in the built environment

Tracy Dort-Kyne: Staying Positive

Tracy wanted to tell her story in her own words:

I just want to be a mom to my boys...

I’m sure you’ve heard the warning that life can change in an instant. But it’s something we tend to take for granted. I know I did, until Labour Day weekend two years ago, when my life changed forever.

While my three sons enjoyed their last hours of summer vacation with some neighbours, I went for a long bike ride near Collingwood, Ontario. When I rounded a sharp corner, my front tire hit some gravel. I was thrown from my bike into a drainage ditch.

That accident left me a quadriplegic - paralyzed below my neck.

My life changed forever. I was still a busy single mom. But I was now completely dependent on others for my care, from washing my face to feeding me every meal.

You won’t be surprised to learn that a few weeks into this new life, I came to a crossroads. I could either embrace it with grace and dignity, or simply give up. But I was grateful to be alive and I made the choice to be positive.

I face huge challenges though. There’s no house available to me and my family that’s wheelchair accessible and equipped with the devices that help me be a mom to my boys. As much as it breaks my heart, I have to look at the possibility of not living with my boys for quite a while.

My dream is to live with my sons again - in an accessible home. I hope that will happen one day.

Today, I’m receiving rehabilitation treatment at Lyndhurst Centre in Toronto. I get physiotherapy, nursing care and respiratory therapy so I can learn to live with my paralysis. The Rick Hansen Foundation supports this incredible centre.

This is just one of the many ways that the Foundation works to better the lives of people like me, who are dealing with physical disabilities.

The Foundation gives people like me the accessibility tools we need to lead a more independent life - a full life. 

I want you to know that one of the things that gave me this power to stay positive is the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Last year, I was honoured to meet Rick Hansen. He and I talked privately. He called me a “gal in motion” and encouraged me to believe that anything is possible. His commitment to reach out to me, as well as to so many others, keeps me going.

The Foundation's work will continue to improve my life, and the lives of many others who live with paralysis or a related disability.

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