Finding Completeness Down Under
Rhiannon TraceyRhiannon Tracey, from Melbourne, Australia, was enjoying a beautiful day at a resort in Bali when a dive into the pool changed her life forever. She was only 20 years old. But she was lucky — despite a C5-T1 break, her spinal cord wasn’t fully damaged. “I started moving my left big toe a month after my injury and was able to semi-lift my left leg a few months after that.”

Gaining back movement, however, still didn’t “fix” everything a spinal cord injury can take away. “My right side is still very far behind and I lack quite a lot of movement throughout,” says Tracey. It also wasn’t enough movement to help her return to her job as a veterinary nurse. So she switched gears and is studying business in addition to everything else. “After leaving the hospital, my recovery became my full time job.”

It was also her rehab experience that inspired her to found the nonprofit, The Next Step SCI Recovery. “Being that SCI is a silent epidemic here in Australia, there are very few recovery options,” she explains. “In your darkest days, the slightest bit of hope is what you long for. After experiencing some great recovery methods myself that weren’t easily accessible to people with spinal cord injuries in Australia, I knew I needed to make a change and make them available.”