Marina Ivie is an Executive Assistant. At the early age of 14, her life was turned upside down during a freak accident that caused her to lose her leg.
At the age of fourteen, I had very little to think about beyond where I was going that weekend, what to wear, or how to do my hair. But just two months before I turned fifteen, I was thinking about only one thing: how am I going to roll over in this hospital bed so I can go home?
On the night of August 24, 2001, my last night of freedom before my freshman year of High School started, everything changed when my friend’s car hit a guardrail with me inside. The railing amputated my leg instantly, and the wreck left me bleeding internally with multiple broken bones and lacerations. I had little chance of survival. Although my body was weak and I had tubes on my body as far as my eyes could see, my mind was still very clear. I just kept telling myself to hold on. With a miraculous recovery, a week later I was moved to the rehabilitation center, where I made a deal with the hospital staff that once I could roll onto my side, I could be discharged. I am proud to say that just one short week later, I was going home.
Although I was now discharged from the hospital, the fight was far from over. My left knee was badly injured, which has resulted in multiple surgeries throughout the years. A few years ago, more of my leg had to be amputated, and I was informed that it would not only be hard to once again wear a prosthetic, but the cost would be greatly increased. I was unable to afford to continue wearing the leg, so I donated my leg to a nurse who was unable to qualify for one herself. The joy of being able to provide this gift to someone else was greater than the happiness I felt on any day I was able to wear it myself.
People often tell me they are proud of me for my choice to stay strong. But in my mind, there was no other choice, because to me failure is not an option. All you can do is get up and do the best you can. The day I left the hospital, I made a promise to myself to never give up and to always live life to the fullest. A few months later, I carried the Paralympic torch, and a year later I taught myself to run and have never looked back. I may not be able to do things the way that everybody else does them now, but regardless, I always find a way to do them.
I enjoy being a motivational speaker at local churches, hospitals, and schools. I also enjoy participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life each year. In addition, I also volunteer as a counsellor for the Shriners Un-Limb-ited amputee camp. This camp offers the opportunity for 14 high school-aged young adults with amputations to learn skiing or white water rafting and participate in group sessions with their peers to deal with challenges both as teenagers and as amputees.
I work full time as an Executive Assistant at Neways International. As an Executive Assistant, who is also an amputee, I have faced many challenges in my career. I was always taught from a young age, that you work hard for what you want. When I started venturing out into the workforce, at 16, I was faced with many let downs. People would take one look at me, and assume that I would not be able to perform the required functions of the job. Each time I left an interview, I would work on ways to prove my abilities. When I started my current position, I did not get the job because I was the most qualified; in fact, I was one of the least qualified. I distinctly remember walking into my interview and falling on my face (literally). After a shocking second call, I did the unthinkable, I fell again. When asking them why they had hired me after falling twice, they stated “because you got right back up and kept walking”. They wanted someone who knew they were going to fail, but that would get back up again and keep going. I have always remembered that statement, and I remind myself of it daily when faced with another challenge.
Eight short months ago, after over four years of fertility treatments, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy who we named Jayson. Although my husband and I are now separated, our love for our son has kept us strong. Being a mom is one of the most challenging and rewarding things in my life. There are several things I have had to learn differently, like how to carry him around the house. But God knew what he was doing, and has given me an extremely patient and kind little boy.
Each day that my son grows, the task of raising him gets a little harder. I am now in pursuit of purchasing a leg, in order to better care for him. I am anxious to start this new chapter, but excited to once again challenge myself. I am gearing up for a long few months of both the physical and emotional sores that will come with this journey. But that is what makes it worth it, for nothing easy is ever worth fighting for.