Mieke knows a lot about spinal cord injury. Actually, since 2005, she has had to live with one, a very high one, twenty four hours a day. She became paralysed from the neck down on the day she decided to take a nap with her son in a newly purchased hamac. The pillar to which the hamac was fixed, collapsed. Mieke, with her mother instinct prevailing, quickly pushed her child out of harms way but as a consequence she fell, first hitting her neck and jaw hard on the ground.
The devastating result of the impact was a complete C3 injury, meaning that she retains lung functions (unlike some people who even need a machine to breathe) but cannot move or feel an inch below her neck.
However, Mieke is extremely resourceful. Besides taking care of her 2 children (on a part time basis and, obviously, with help!), she writes, paints and jokes. Her spirit just amazes everyone crossing her path.
She doesn’t tell anyone that it’s great to live with paralysis and certainly would not wish it on anybody. She tells it like it is but also manages to make the best of her situation.
Recently Mieke was invited to give a speech during a Rotary club gathering in Uden (The Netherlands) and again managed to impress all participants with her spirit and views on life. The donation offered by the club at that occasion was generously allocated to endParalysis foundation, to support research into finding a cure for spinal cord injury.
We thank Mieke and the Uden Rotary Club for their support of endParalysis.*Mieke’s book (in Dutch): PAK me dan… Als je kan. Editie: Boekscout.nl