The girl who fell from the sky’ will make you appreciate every minute of life
Let me have the privilege of introducing you to Emma Carey, a girl who, despite facing unimaginable challenges in her life, at 25 radiates positivity like no one I’ve ever seen. Her near-death experience is one that will bring you chills, and make you appreciate every moment of life.
What’s her story?
At 20-years-old, and with her whole life ahead of her, she packed her bags to embark on a European adventure. Only a few days into her itinerary she headed to Switzerland and booked a skydiving experience in pursuit of her dream to soar over the Swiss Alps. On the 19th of June 2013, Emma prepared to make her dream come true, taking to the skies with nothing but pure excitement about jumping out of a plane. Something that was supposed to be an amazing, dream-fulfilling experience ended in a freak accident resulting from an issue with her parachute release. She hit the ground…hard, with an unconscious instructor strapped to her back (he survived with serious injuries), a broken back (at L1), sacrum and pelvis, chipped teeth and the realisation that she had no feeling in her legs. You can read more about her accident here, as what I really want to talk about is much more than her incredible story. I want to shine a light on her hero status as the true inspiration she is.
Against all odds, and her diagnosis, she has retaught herself how to walk, giving her the remarkable status of walking paraplegic. As phenomenal a feat as that is, one she attributes to a combination of good luck and hard work, it comes with its own set of battles and challenges. Understandably, it took Emma time to adjust, come to terms with and accept the life she now lives, but she has been transparent throughout the whole process – openly discussing the time and hurdles it took to get her to this point of positivity. From her social feeds, people could quickly assume that she is a normal 25-year-old girl, living her best life – but her captions (which she treats as diary entries) don’t hide her humanity or injury. With a refreshingly honest approach she discusses her ups and downs, setbacks, and bad days, but through it all she comes out the other side with a smile on her face and something positive to say, and that is what is truly admirable.
Coming across Emma’s page and all the facets of her life that she shares on social media has given me a chance to reflect on what I would do in her situation, and whether I would handle it so gracefully. It takes an unworldly strength to react in the way that she has, and express it in the way she does. After a life-changing event such as this she could have easily thrown herself into the ‘too hard’ basket and let life pass her by. Instead, she finds herself sharing her days with her loyal audience, with no topic off-limits. She vocalises the not so glamorous parts of the lifestyle she now leads, the daily struggles she faces dealing with the ongoing issues from her injuries, and her raw and honest feelings throughout every stage of her journey, all mixed with the average life decisions you face at her age. This transparency is relatable to not just those facing similar injuries to her, but it speaks to and motivates people in any stage of life.
She now lives with the life motto ‘if you can, you must’, a phrase she coined approximately 3 days after her accident. Having no memory of creating this saying, she found it written in her phone notes sometime after the event and believes she was talking about running (a beloved hobby of hers). She had the intention to go for a run the morning of the skydive, however, made excuses and put it off (something we are all guilty of). In hindsight, she obviously now wishes she could go back to a time when she could run among other things, but instead of being sad over this, she chooses to live a life dictated by this self-written quote. Although for her personally it now relates to smaller tasks, it is something that each of us can live by. Most of us are lucky enough to have healthy, functioning bodies, something that we too often take for granted. Reading Emma’s story allows you to find new motivation, an excuse to get up and move your body in any way you can, a reason to cherish the small things in life you love, and a push to do them often.
Emma uses the amazing platform she has created to spread positivity far and wide, along with raising awareness for spinal cord injuries. Currently, she is writing a book on her journey and talking at events such as the League of Extraordinary Women and Business Chicks, all whilst working with the charity Wings for Life to raise money for spinal cord research, and managing her injuries. She shows her appreciation for the gift of life daily, and considers herself to be the happiest she has ever been because of her situation, rather than despite it. She has a wealth of knowledge beyond her years due to the lessons she has learnt from a near-death experience and she wants to share these with others, allowing people to learn from her without having to experience it themselves.
What we can learn
Emma Carey truly is the girl who fell from the sky, with a story and attitude to match. Having read her story use it as a motivation in your own life, cherish every moment (yes, even the mundane ones), and live your life to the fullest for those who can’t.