"You’re braver than you think"

Sam Bloom, whose story inspired a hit film, has a powerful message about facing life’s challenges.

Eight years ago, the Australian nurse was simply enjoying a happy, active life, raising three sons with a husband who shares her love of surfing.

Today she holds world sporting titles. She’s the subject of a movie starring Naomi Watts. And she has rebounded from depression after being paralyzed from the chest down.

Not necessarily in that order.

People around the world have discovered how Sam’s life was shattered when she fell through a faulty railing on a family vacation. She sank into despair, but caring for an injured magpie helped her find her way out of the darkness.

While the film provides many moments of humor, it doesn’t shy away from the consequences of Sam’s injury: paralysis, nerve pain, and initial anger, sadness, envy, guilt…

She describes a scene: “The kids were sick, and I could hear them calling for their dad, but not for me. I remember lying there crying, because I couldn’t jump up and be there for them. Naomi conveys that so well. She’s like, ‘What am I, if I’m not a mum?’”

Hope and inspiration

The movie concludes on an upbeat note but not a perfect happy ending. Sam still longs for her old life, but she’s found a way to carry on. The inspiring Aussie receives countless requests for advice, so she shares what has worked for her:

“I want people to realize the power of family and love and nature,” Sam says. “How they can help you get out of a really bad place in your head. And especially with spinal cord injury, I think it helps to find something that you love doing, or a purpose. Because when you’re bored, you focus on the negatives.”

For Sam that purpose is sport. She has captured two World Para Surfing Championships, as well as national paracanoe titles.

Sam says the main thing she hopes people take from her story is this: “You’re braver than you think you are, capable of more courage than you realize. There really is hope, so don’t give up.”

Rolling toward a cure

Sam is an ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run, which raises money to find a cure for spinal cord injuries, the vast majority of which – like her own ­– result from accidents in everyday life. She’ll be participating on May 9 using her wheelchair and the Wings for Life World Run App. She’s even planning on starting a team.

“It’s amazing – really good fun and a great vibe. With the App, you can take part where you are but be connected with a team anywhere,” she explains.

“Someday they will find a cure, and imagine how big and life-changing that will be for millions of people. Come on!”

Join Sam and the global Wings for Life World Run community here.

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