Today, Sana is using her story to inspire all of us.
“ I am Sana Khurshid, a Lawyer and an Equal Rights Activist for Differently Abled People.
I was a teenager when a devastating car accident on the Motorway left me with a C4-5 Complete spinal injury, paralyzing me from the neck down.
The first few months after my accident were spent in three different hospitals because sadly there was no dedicated spine center anywhere in Lahore.
I am pleased to say that this is not the case now. Ghurki Trust Teaching Hospital has a state of the art, AO Spine Switzerland certified Department of Orthopedics and Spine and I am proud to be their Ambassador.
Being in a hospital is not fun but I am proud to say that my friends and family never left my side. Because of my injury my head was in a traction weighed down by bricks. I was lying flat and the only thing in my body that I could move were my eyes and lips. You know the funny part is that not once did I feel depressed then, I think I didn’t know the enormity of my injury.I didn’t realize it and nobody gave me a chance to! My friends, my cousins they all kept me so engaged in conversations that they didn’t let me think.
Before my accident I had never heard of a spinal injury nor did I know anyone who had one.
To say my life changed after my accident is an understatement!
I thought not being able to walk, not being able to use my hands was a fate worse than death but during one of many operations that I had to go through, my vocal cord got cut. Luckily I was privileged enough to go to UK and get it fixed but that really put things into perspective!
Since Spinal Cord Injury affects the nervous system, it affects every region of the body.
My body does not function like an able-bodied person. I don’t feel anything from my chest downwards.
But I take all of this in my stride. I may not be in control of a lot of things in my body, just like in my life, but I do have a choice in how I deal with it!
I have learned to accept that my wheelchair is not something to despise, it is a means to an end!
I have not let my injury stand in the way of living a life.
In spite of having no hand function I have done LL.B. and then LL.M.
The real challenge for me has always been overcoming my own inhibitions, the self-doubt.
We tend to be our own worst enemy…We have pre-conceived notions of what our life should be
I think once you accept the fact that life may have other plans for you and it will not always be how you imagined it, That is when you really start living.
As cliché’s as it may sound but life is what you make of it.
I wish I could say it’s easy but it’s not! What we all need to remember is that we should not mourn about the things that didn’t happen and focus on and be grateful for what we have.
As a person who was not born into a wheelchair, I have seen the stark contrast in my own life before and after my accident.
Dealing with a traumatic experience is difficult as it is and it does not help to be in a society which does not welcome or facilitate people with special needs.
Thus I have made it my mission to make our country accessible and inclusive and to raise awareness regarding people with disabilities.
I advocate for equal opportunities for people with different abilities
Currently I am actively pursuing a case in the Lahore High Court against the Province of Punjab and other respondents to implement the Building Regulation which makes the presence of a ramp and a disabled toilet mandatory in every Public and commercial building.
I have also served as an advisor on different occasions for making education and educational institutes accessible and inclusive.
My fight for accessibility and inclusion is not just limited to Punjab but the whole country.
I envisage a future where people can access a building without using stairs; where a person can access a ramp to go see a movie; or can get a job without any discrimination, where our children with special needs can access a mainstream classroom without any fear.
I strongly believe that we are not defined by our circumstances. We are who we chose to be”
More power to you, Sana!
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