I was on Australian Story eight years ago. They did a story on my life. It was The Woman from Snowy River. I was the only woman to win The Man from Snowy River race as well as The Cattleman’s Cup. They did a story on my riding, but I got on there because of my speaking after my accident.
When I came out of the coma, because both lungs were punctured and as soon as I could breathe without pain I thought I can do anything and go anywhere. You must start very small and work away at it every single day. It’s every second, every minute, every hour, day, week, month, year upon year which is what it has been. I look towards it, it’s part of my life, it’s just what happened, and I’ve just got to deal with it and get over it.
Waking up from the coma I couldn’t feel anything, I couldn’t feel pain. When I was able to gain that feeling back and I could feel pain I just thought, wow, I’ve got my whole life in front of me. There is always going to be barriers put up in front of you and you just have to work out a way around them and you’ve got to be grateful for how far you have come. Especially with sports people, it’s how far they have come, and they can still do that sport. There are a lot of people far worse off than what I am and what they are. You’ve just got to look around in the world and look at how lucky we are to be in Australia, in the county we are in.
The greatest gift I received was my mother spent a year and a half teaching me how to boil a kettle, how to brush my hair, just doing the very basic things, how to get dressed. Having back your independence is the greatest gift that you can have. I spend every day of my life working on my independence, to keep my independence. To get my driver’s license I had to go for that fourteen times over five years and that was to get my five-kilometre license where I could drive five kilometres from home. Then I had to go for my ten-kilometre license and then my night driving license and all it is, is just keeping chipping away. The services that are available nowadays for people with disabilities are amazing. You have to be out in the community, you’ve just got to try everything an you’ve got to give everybody a chance.
I think every single person has a disability, it’s whether you can see it or not. I’ve never seen myself with a disability, I just see myself as badly injured and one day I’ll get back to 100% or even better than what I was because now I have all the experts working on me and with me. I just never ever give up. Don’t look at what’s bad in your life, look at what’s good and if you can breathe without pain, drink water and eat food then you’ve got a good base to start with. Breathing air is what keeps us alive and that is what you need, then you can work on everything else. Just chip away at it day by day.
Watch me on the Australian story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIB2P_AU67U
For more information about Leigh please contact Speakers Bank’s Project Officer on 03 9314 0988 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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