Monica Quimby Shares Her Story of Hope & Success After SCI

How do you handle waking up to find yourself living in a bad dream? Do you spend a lifetime mourning what could have been, or do you create a better ending?

The popular e-book entitled  COURAGE: Stories of Hometown Heroes shares stories of people who have found success after a life-changing event like spinal cord injury, including the personal account of Ms. Wheelchair Maine, Monica Quimby. An excerpt of her story is below.

Little did Monica Quimby know that her decision to go-down the double diamond trail (the steepest and most-technical trail on the mountain), one last time for the day, that it would be her very last time skiing down a mountain. After missing her landing pad at a flat plateau on the mountain by more than 20 feet, Monica became paralyzed from the waist down.

Quimby explains, “The biggest problem I’ve had since the accident was when I came home from the hospital. My whole world had turned upside-down. When I arrived at home, there was a ramp at the front door, and my bedroom, which had been upstairs, was now downstairs.”

“Although I didn’t get upset because I was paralyzed, I did get irritated with all the changes that had taken place after I became paralyzed.”

“I got my life back by getting back in college, hanging with my friends and being around people who knew me before the accident and were willing to help and support my getting on with my life.”

“I wanted to get a college degree, and I wanted to have a career. I became very focused after my accident and told myself, “Getting back into school and getting back into life is what you need to do, and what you have to do.”

“After I got my master’s degree, I was on a break from being an adjunct biology teacher at Southern Maine Community College. I had 6-weeks off from school, so I wanted to find something to do. I typed-in wheelchair activities, and I saw the information for Ms. Wheelchair America. I laughed and finally said to myself “Ok, I’m going to see what this is about.”

“I found the competition for Ms. Wheelchair Maine was a part of the Ms. Wheelchair America competition and discovered that this contest was as much about your inner beauty as your outer beauty.”

“In the contest, I was 100% honest. My platform was providing higher education and teaching goal setting for people with disabilities. I entered the contest and won.”

“That win has given me a mission to try to encourage, inspire and promote more education and opportunities for people with some kind of disability.”

Monica Quimby now flies through life in her wheelchair, taking chances and going into uncharted waters with the same reckless abandon and enthusiasm that she once used to ski double-diamond courses.

Quimby explains, “I think one of the reasons that people in wheelchairs often don’t get their dream jobs is perhaps because they don’t apply for them. If you only see yourself as a person in a wheelchair, that’s how others will see you. If you see yourself as more than that and as having more to offer a job than the other applicants do, then that’s how your potential employers will view you.”

“I definitely want to stay involved as an educator and change people’s attitudes about disabilities. Overall, I want to do more to teach people, with and without disabilities, about what disabled people can do, instead of them only knowing what we can’t do.”

Read the rest of Monica Quimby’s personal story of success after her spinal cord injury in John Phillip’s book COURAGE: Stories of Hometown Heroes, available on Amazon for Kindle and iPad at:

About COURAGE: Stories of Hometown Heroes
Christine Kent was shot twice, run over once and thrown in the bushes behind her house. The fact she survived was a miracle, but to show the true courage of people like Christine, she not only survived but today competes in marathons with her handcycle.

couragejohnScot Hollonbeck dreamed of one day competing in the Olympics, representing his country and winning a gold medal. While riding his bicycle at 14-years old, Hollonbeck was 200-yards from his house when a drunk driver in a van crashed into him going 60 mph. You would expect that Hollonbeck’s dream of becoming an Olympian was over, but he trained diligently for 8 years, went to the 2000 Summer Olympics and represented his country in the men’s 1500-meter wheelchair race. At the 2004 Olympic Games, he finished 4th and eventually won a total of two gold medals and three silver medals for the USA.

This book is full of inspirational stories about some of the most-courageous, unbelievable people you ever will meet, who have overcome tremendous odds to become the best they can be. These people are not only hometown heroes, their lives demonstrate lessons in courage, stamina, dedication to purpose and the never-give-up attitude that all of us admire and want to emulate. Any time you think you have a problem or feel that life has dealt you a bad hand, read the stories of these incredible people. Get your copy here.

Additional Resources From Wheel:Life on Relationships 

Reconnecting-CoverLowRes240x240Within Reconnecting: Relationship Advice from Wheelchair Users, readers will hear from people who use wheelchairs as they share their perspective on friends, family and relationships including dating, marriage and parenting.

Author Lisa Wells shares real-life examples and success stories throughout the book based on her lengthy career that includes ongoing interactions with disability advocates, non-profit supporters and peer support group members.

Reconnecting: Relationship Advice from Wheelchair Users features interviews with:

  • Graduate student & quadriplegic Ather Sharif about connecting on a college campus
  • Amputee Thomas Morris on connecting through his unique appearance and personality
  • NSCIA [Buffalo, NY chapter] President Natalie Barnhard who connects Wheels with Wings
  • Paraplegic Todd Robinson who explains his family connection through the joy of adoption
  • Quadriplegic Ashleigh Justice who connects on the quad rugby field and as a young mother



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