What I Now Know: Ally Grizzard

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on September 18, 2019 # SCI Awareness

Dear Ally,

Right now, you are lying on the ground in a briar patch on the side of the road, unable to move and unsure why, but you can hear the sirens coming and someone shouting the words “I have help on the way!” You don’t know it yet, but you won’t remember anything after the sound of those sirens coming for a long while, but you aren’t scared. You know you are tough, and you know everything will be just fine.

A few days later, you will wake up in an ICU room in a trauma unit with a ventilator down your throat, multiple chest tubes, unable to speak and wondering how you got there. You won’t remember anything besides the feeling of landing flat on your back somehow, but all of your family, your boyfriend and friends will be there to comfort you. Nurses and doctors are in and out of your room all day and night long taking care of you. By now, you’re realizing that feeling of landing flat on your back out of the air had to be far worse than what you imagined when it happened.

What you don’t know yet, but will soon learn, is that the doctors told your parents you fractured your C-2 vertebrae and severed your spinal cord at your T-12 vertebrae, meaning you have a T-12 spinal cord injury and you are paralyzed from the waist down and will never walk nor live a normal life again, but the doctors don’t know you. They don’t know you have been independent from the time you could crawl, they don’t know your strong-willed, determined attitude you’ve had all your life and they don’t know that when someone says you can’t do something, it only makes you want to do it that much more because are so stubborn. You will prove them wrong because the word “never” doesn’t apply to you.

Proving them wrong is exactly what you did. You proved them wrong three weeks later when you started breathing on your own. You proved them wrong when you excelled in physical, occupational and recreational therapy in rehab and started to regain sensation and some function below your waist. You proved them wrong when you learned how to transfer onto your four-wheeler and ride again. You proved them wrong when you became completely independent again, learned how to drive again, returned to school, learned to grocery shop on your own, cook and clean and even walk down the aisle on your big wedding day. You proved them wrong and you continue to prove them wrong as you continue to live a very normal life day in and day out, setting new goals for the future.

The reason you are where you are and have the strength you have today is because of the people who have been beside you every step of the way. From the moment you were injured, you’ve had everyone surrounding you- family, your boyfriend, (who is now your husband) friends, teachers, your whole community, therapists that came together and rallied for you and especially your mom. She has been your hero your whole life but has now transformed into your entire backbone, No. 1 support system and cheerleader, and caregiver when you need her. She learned how to take care of you and made your health and recovery her No. 1 priority. She never lets anything stand in the way of you overcoming any obstacle, no matter how hard it may be.

Right now, you aren’t sure what’s going to take place next. You aren’t sure of anything, really. You are scared and that’s okay. You will be scared, sad, frustrated, angry and you will have days where you feel absolutely defeated, but for every bad day, there are multiple good days. For every setback, there’s a comeback that is stronger. For every sad moment, there is a moment of joy up ahead. Your future is beaming brighter than ever before and you will meet people that you never imagined meeting before- celebrities, authors, athletes and speakers, who will all be touched by your story. You will start to share your story with the world and your voice will reach millions and be known worldwide. You will be on the cover of multiple magazines and on TV screens. You will travel the world and share your story with organizations for people with spinal cord injuries and meet new friends and not know how you ever lived without them before. You will work with the Reeve Foundation and you will be a light for so many people in your situation and give them hope.

Your life will be forever changed by the pain and suffering that you feel right now, and only for the good. When you look back a few years from now, you will know that everything happened exactly the way it did for a reason. You will know how to always find the light in the darkness, and you won’t count the number of times you’ve fallen, only the number of times you’ve gotten back up. You will have far more heart than scars and you will realize that was God’s goal all along. And, I promise it was.

-Ally Grizzard

You can connect with me on Reeve Connect or on Instagram @allygrizzard.

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.