leave the pebbles behind
posted: November 16, 2009
Meet Tyler Mosher, an elite ambassador and our guest blogger, who is a 2010 Paralympic hopeful in Para-Nordic Skiing. Read his inspiring story below!
Time stood still. I was floating through the air upside down and actually took the time to think that I might die. I thought of the many things I still wanted to do, places I wanted to see. The cool things I was happy I’d done, and the many people in my life with so much love to share. It was not my day.
A second later I hit the ground head first from 10 metres above. My back explodes at L-1 like a pop can a kid jumps on and the vertebrae above and below break in nine places. I am stuck upside down in wind blown corn snow up to my ears and cannot move.
I am airlifted out of the glacier to the Whistler Health Clinic where my fears are confirmed Although I am alive, I am paralyzed from the waist down. Later that night I am sent down to Vancouver to be patched up to live in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
Luckily, the doctors were wrong, and my spinal cord injury is incomplete vs. complete. But luck is an understatement. Nine years later, although I am considered 40% paralyzed below the waist, I have learned to walk again, learned to cross country ski, and even learned to snowboard again. Not everyone can do what I did. Most people with a spinal cord injury do not have the opportunity to get any muscles back and even if they do, they don’t get enough of what they need to walk.
So, I am lucky, but I worked hard at it. I set goals. I stayed positive and looked at the world with what I could do, not what I couldn’t do. I took up yoga and believed that I could think my way into a pose even if I couldn’t do the pose. I thought to myself to just try every day to do more, to learn more, to be strong and understand that if I fall down, it is because I am pushing the limits. In fact, I learned to walk again by falling down and getting back up and falling some more. Metaphorically I believe this is what success is all about – falling down and getting back up until you don’t fall down anymore.
Staying positive and looking for the positive aspect in everything I do is my key. I like to say I can turn two negatives into a positive. It sounds corny, but I believe it and I believe in myself. It doesn’t mean I don’t ask for help. It means that because I try to help myself in a positive manner, others will believe in me and help me too. All I need to do is ask.
Last month, I received an email from my super cool friend, Olympian Nicole Forrester, asking for people to climb the CN Tower with other national team members to raise money for the United Way - a charity I have always believed in. They help people ask for a better life, thus helping communities and families throughout the world.
I wasn’t sure if I could do it, so I drove down to Vancouver and trained in a stairway doing 20 flights at a time and taking the elevator down and doing it seven more times. I figured I could do it, the 147 flights of stairs (1776 steps), in about 35 minutes.
Tyler and his team about to climb the CN Tower!
A group shot of the amazing athletes before climbing the CN Tower for United Way.
The team cheering for a great cause.
When I took the challenge two weeks ago I blew my attainable goal out of the water by clocking a time just under 20 minutes. Kayak Olympian and World Champion Adam Van Koeverden did it in about 14 minutes. Paralympian Stephanie Reid Lakatos ran it in about 17 minutes on her below the knee carbon fiber prosthetic, young Leah Robinson did it like me with some paralysis in her right leg and Wilfredo (Papito) Moré Wilson did it with just one leg and two crutches – was I ever impressed! As you can see, we are all capable of achieving greatness. As Muhammad Ali said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
So here I am: climbing new mountains every day. Although there are several hundred things I can’t do, there are several millions I can continue to do. I can’t run and I can’t jump but I can get up and be happy every day. I can set goals and achieve the seemingly impossible and I am not afraid to try. So in March of 2010, look for me racing in cross country skiing at the Paralympic games. I hope you are able to climb your mountains and leave the pebbles behind.
Namaste – Tyler
Check out Tyler Mosher’s fan Facebook page for updates: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tyler-Mosher/42536243617