Aaron Baker's Journey To Reclaim Movement

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on June 11, 2015 # News, Adaptive Sports

Aaron Baker has always been one to defy the odds, and has been for the past sixteen years.Since he sustained a C5 spinal cord injury in 1999 on a motocross track, Aaron has been working to regain movement over time through training and physical therapy. Now he is taking his movement to the next level with his film Coming to My Senses: A Journey to Reclaim Movement, which will document his 20 mile walk across Death Valley, while pushing his body to its limits and beyond.

This walk is continuing Aaron’s desire to challenge his condition since he sustained his injury. In the past, he has done marathons and hand cycling, and now has found a new way of forcing his body to move. Walking across Death Valley was actually a replacement challenge as Aaron was originally thinking of climbing Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. However, he was more familiar with the desert, specifically Death Valley.

“I’ve wanted to share my process of recovery, and be a tool of empowerment for those living with a similar injury,” Aaron said. “For a long time I was dependent on others, having to be bathed and fed by my mother. Even today, simple tasks like brushing my teeth or tying my shoes can be a struggle, but I never let it stop me from trying to push my body and continue to move.”

With this film, Aaron hopes to open up the conversation of living with a spinal cord injury and expose the taboos that often come with the injury. Through this personal challenge across Death Valley, you see Aaron unedited and vulnerable as he shows that overcoming any challenge means not letting physical or mental limitations stop you from achieving your goals.

“You are up close and personal with Aaron during this [film]. You see things that might be deemed ‘scary’ or ‘uncomfortable’, like how he has to get up four or five times a night to go to the bathroom,” says Nadia Boctor, producer of the documentary. “There was no real way for him to train to walk 20 miles over six days. Some days he walked 3 miles in a day out there [in the desert], others he only walked 20 feet. You see his frustrations, his success, and his thoughts as he looks back on his life before and after his injury.”

Along with covering his 20 mile venture, Coming to My Senses expands past Aaron’s personal challenge and into the complicated realm of insurance and resources for rehabilitation after sustaining an SCI. Aaron was left without insurance or access to long term rehabilitation leading to severe depression. However, now one of Aaron’s proudest accomplishments is opening the Center of Restorative Exercise (CORE) with his mother, Laquita Conway, and longtime trainer Taylor Kevin Isaacs. CORE’s goal is helping to bridge the gap between insurance-deemed physical therapy and independent fitness.

“I hope to plant a seed of hope in those who are living with a spinal cord injury, to challenge a doctor’s first diagnosis, and be a relatable source of inspiration for those who may not have a community or support group,” added Aaron. “There are daily struggles that I go through, and I am very conscious of every move I make whether it is every day, or while I was out in the desert. I want show that it is possible to get out and move again after sustaining an SCI. You can do anything you dream of accomplishing. You just need to break it down into ‘baby steps,’ if you will, and next thing you know, you have preserved through your own 20 miles of possibility.”

Find out more.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.