Amanda Elmore

Hello, my name is Amanda. I’m 20 years old and a Junior at Brigham Young University. When I was 12, I had been dancing for six years, and had just joined my middle school’s cheerleading squad in Dunn, North Carolina. Most of my favorite activities were on my feet. However, a freak four-wheeler (ATV) accident on January 3rd, 1999 left me with a T-12 spinal cord injury. That night I flew in a helicopter to the University of Chapel Hill Hospitals. In the next two days I had nine hours of surgery to remove almost 40 bone fragments from the shattered T-12 and replace the vertebrae with a femur bone. To make things worse, I contracted double pneumonia. At this point I was given a 10% chance of survival and my parents were advised to begin funeral preparations.
Miraculously, I survived the next week and two weeks later I flew to Atlanta to begin rehab in the Shepherd Center. Here I learned how to live life from a wheelchair. After two months with Shepherd, I went home and had physical therapy three times a week for three years. I attempted walking in leg braces and a walker, but the braces were bulky and inconvenient.
After insurance quit paying for therapy I spent the next four years doing whatever I could on my own to strengthen the few leg muscles that I had regained over the years. This has only been somewhat successful. I have a great life, and I’ve learned to drive and live on my own. I had a beautiful wedding this past summer and I have an amazing husband. However, I’m not satisfied living life from a wheelchair. Walking is my next major goal.
In September 2006 I ran into Cambry on BYU’s campus and she encouraged me to check out the Sit Tall Stand Tall program. I made a visit and I was very impressed with what I saw. I began the very next day. As of today, I’ve only been there a week but I have already seen significant improvement in my balance and flexibility. I’ve spent many hours standing in a stand-up chair and strengthening the muscles required to begin walking in leg braces again. It’s been extremely tough so far both physically and mentally, but I feel it will be well worth the effort.