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Amanda Diaz

New York, New York

Doctor's said I would be dead. Then they said I would never walk again. A year later here I am...

My name is Amanda Diaz. I love waking up in the morning to Persia's wagging tail and doggy kisses on my legs. To the mint taste and freshly flossed feeling of my tongue brushing against my teeth. And, to the smell of freshly brewed coffee simmering in the pot. But on July 13, 2011, I may have enjoyed my last morning.

I walk out of my apartment door to head for work. Entering the car, I place my purse on the passenger seat and coffee cup in its holder. I pull out of the parking spot and drive into the parkway with no sense of hurry; calmly taking my normal route. Three miles in, I'm cut off by a passing car. Seconds later, my car is off the road, crushed, and belly up in the river with me strapped in.

Rushed to the hospital and stabilized, I was scheduled for spine surgery. Bursting fractures and spinal cord injury lead to bone fusions in my vertebral and cervical spine; permanent screws, rods and a mesh plate in my neck and back. Surviving these injuries was a miracle in itself. There was no guarantee that I'd go back to living a normal life.

So, I chose to do the impossible. I began my journey of recovery. I progressively transitioned from wheelchair, to walker, and then no support. Gradually gaining my strength to do daily activities, like eating independently. I met my mark and was discharged a month later. Happy to be home, I knew this was just the beginning...

  • Education
    • Psychology, Guidance Counseling