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Videos > Kristin


Kayaking helps Kristin stay strong and independent after losing her arm in an auto accident.

(click here to view a text transcript of this video)

My name is Kristin and I’m 21 years old. Last summer, I had a stroke while driving…and I hit a truck and I lost my arm. Ever since then I’ve just recovered really well. It’s been a year and three months yesterday, and I’m back to school – I went back to school six months after the accident – and it was just a roadblock. And then I moved past it, and got back to normal.

The first thing that happens when I go walk down to the pier is I talk to a therapist, and they’ll ask me what I want to do and today I want to go out water kayaking, so they’ll put it in the water. They’ll just make sure that I’m comfortable where it is and how I have to get into it and then they’ll help me get into it and then they’ll go get into their own little kayak. And we’ll either go out to the harbor or up and down the Charles. It’s very relaxing to be out on the water. And my brother came out with me one time and I kayaked with the water kayak, which is like a bike in a kayak. Its really cool – I can go really, really fast on my kayak, and he had to, you know, really do a lot of work to keep up with me so I had to slow down.

I almost never think about the fact that I have a disability, cause I am not a disabled person. I have a disability, but I’m not disabled. I’m very independent, and my friends know that, and my family knows that so they know when to back off, and when to ask if I need help. If I know I can do it and I really want to do it myself, I know it will take me a little bit longer, and I’ll probably have to go about it a different way than someone with two arms would have do it, but I’ll find a way to do it. You can get through anything that life throws at you if you just think you can.

What I think kids should know about my experience about living with a disability is that’s all it is - I’m living with a disability, but I’m just like everyone else. Don’t treat people different unless they ask you to because its just going to make them uncomfortable and its going to make you uncomfortable, and that’s just not the way people should go through life. Now there’s really nothing that I cannot do. I can do everything that I want to do. I came home in a wheelchair, but I still did everything I wanted to do. And now I’m walking again, and there’s still nothing that I can’t do.