Spinal cord injury survivor shares her story, brings awareness to Marshall County

Marshall County

About 500,000 Americans have had to learn life over again, Heather being one of them.

MARSHALL COUNTY, W.VA. (WTRF) — Known throughout Marshall County for her bright yellow scooter, September holds a larger meaning to Heather Gillespie, who at age 19 suffered a spinal cord injury from a severe accident.  

Thanks to the doctors that gave her a helping shoulder to hold on to, a green ribbon worn in September brings awareness to spinal cord injuries. With buckets nearing 5,000 hand-made ribbons, Heather says spinal cord injury awareness is more important than ever. 

This summer alone there have been several cases reported in our area, and 20,000 new cases are reported annually in the U.S. 

About 500,000 Americans have had to learn life over again with motor vehicle accidents and falls being the leading cause of paralysis… Heather being one of them. 

I went through my ups and downs. I hit a depression peak but just didn’t give up.  

The doctors told me I had a slim chance of having children and I think that was because of my injury. But I have three kids and I’ve been raising them, and I’ve been living independently since.

Heather Gillespie, Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Advocate 

Heather tells her story to inspire those fighting similar battles and says part of bringing awareness means acknowledging someone in a wheelchair and breaking down stigmas. She welcomes inquisition from kids, and has brought boat loads of ribbons to the local schools… becoming the perfect conversation starter. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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