Santiago Arias

Well, my life before the accident was very active. I liked to work a lot and be attentive with my wife and kids. I would exercise a lot. I ate well, and I felt well physically. I felt a great sense of responsibility towards family, because if I took care of myself they would have good things. And that was my way of thinking.

My accident was unexpected. It was 5 p.m. on a very hard day. I was pretty tired. The sun was fully out since it had rained earlier. Then I moved a chunk of cement, and as I pushed it, I slipped with it, and fell 30 feet down. That’s what left me quadriplegic. The hit was on my third vertebra. I blacked out. I don’t know for how long, but I woke up and tried to get up, but I couldn’t move my body anymore. My friends were with me tried to help me, and I don’t remember anything else. I was taken to the hospital and had surgery.

When the accident happened it was a hard, drastic, and unexpected change in my life. Everything changed for me. First of all, I couldn’t walk and do all the things I used to do. The economic part changed as well since I was the one who used to sustain my family. And more than everything, my family’s suffering as they saw me in this situation. You are never satisfied, you want to get off the chair, and do something for myself, but it’s impossible. Thank God I have my family, my kids. I especially thank God for the wife he sent me, because she never abandoned me, and has been with me for in good and bad times.

At the beginning, it was impossible to take such as strong change. I kept thinking about what I did before, and that I cannot do it anymore. Because sometimes when they all leave the house, I cannot go with, and I stay by myself thinking I could have gone.

The advise I would give to people who recently had a injury like mine is that even though it is really hard to change our lives, we need to keep fighting to go forward, always putting our faith in God first. And if you feel sad or depressed, think about all the wonders He created, like the sun, the moon, the seas, the stars, and nature, and many other things. Realizing that we have a living God who never abandons us and trust in oneself hoping that someday there is a cure for the spine. And more than anything, knowing that life doesn’t end because of a wheel chair or a bed. On the contrary, take the example of other people who even without their hands and legs’ movements have been able to graduate college. And think that we can also reach success in anything we are determined to do because it is the mind that controls it all.

Our group, the Living Hope Wheelchair Association, means a great support to me, since there I have found support because I have met people who have similar injuries and we support each other. We try to progress, we get help finding the supplements we use. We try to be positive, and now I know I am not alone. We try to find ways to move forward and help others.

We will try to grow and better our association each day, so we can help others.

Thank you, and never give up.