"I wish I’d found SCI BC ten years ago"

Garry Crowe

Has an incomplete spinal cord injury

Interviewed during a Peer Camping Trip in Fintry Provincial Park on June 22, 2013

How did you first hear about Spinal Cord Injury BC?

Well I was just kind of hunting around from some kind of support for spinal cord injury people. And I finally came across the SCI BC website, joined it, and the next thing I know I was hanging out with bunch of Peers, chatting with people and finding out information that I’d never been able to find out about.

What’s your favourite thing about Spinal Cord Injury BC?

They are the happiest bunch of people I think I’ve ever met, as far as the group is concerned. Everyone seems to have this inner energy of happiness and well being, even though they’re probably worse off than other people.

How did you first hear about this organization? 

When I first had my surgery, after my surgery, I tried to do research and find some kind of people and support to find out what I’m facing and that sort of thing. At that time there was no place that I could find as far as support groups or anything like that. It wasn’t until this year when I was doing some other research on spinal cord that I came across the website for SCI.

How has being part of the Peer Support Program had an impact on your social life?

I have one now. Basically I’ve been concentrating on trying to support myself and I didn’t really have a chance to get out and try to do things. With the support group it gave me something to do and people to chat with and a common ground that we can actually converse on. Which is great. Wish I’d found it 10 years ago!

What did you do this weekend?

Camping! That’s another thing that I haven’t done in about 10 years. Finally pulled my tent out, got myself on the ground. Nice camp ground, great bunch of people. Went kayaking, another thing I haven’t done for about 12 years. Almost went water skiing but didn’t quite make that. Awesome picnic, afternoon barbeque. They’re probably the greatest bunch of people you’ll probably ever get around.

How do you feel now?

I feel awesome. Chance to relax, chance to just to get around and have fun.

What makes hanging out with Spinal Cord Injury BC Peers different than friends or family?

Well the fact is I kind sit down and discuss my problems with them and they understand. And the fact that they are all happy. I’m not saying that my friends and family aren’t happy but these people seem to have an energy that seems to rub off of each other. Don’t quite get that with family and I don’t really have that many friends to hang out with in town here.

Are there things that you can talk to with Spinal Cord Injury BC members that you can’t talk about with your family or friends?

Yes, my family doesn’t really understand with the spinal cord thing they just figure it’s me being a little different, which it’s always been.

I can’t really explain to them, how I feel and the pains I go through and all that. And I really just don’t want to feel like burdening the family with that sort of thing. With the spinal cord, these people are going through the same thing that I’m going through, and most them through a range or more degree than I am, but at least they understand and I can talk to them and get feedback on what I’m feeling, what’s causing it and that sort of thing. It’s reassuring.

What would you tell someone who has never heard about Spinal Cord Injury BC before?

Definitely join the group. You can’t lose. You’ll find people that’ll change your whole attitude of how’ll you do things, even for yourself or for others. These people are totally into sharing. They like to support and help each other. It’s a group like I’ve never met before.

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