Sonja Gaudet

Has a T5-T6 paraplegic injury. She is Spinal Cord Injury BC’s Vernon Peer Coordinator and a Paralympic Champion

Sonja Gaudet on the challenge of being a mom with paraplegia.

What was the hardest thing you had to deal with when you first left GF Strong?

When I first came out of GF strong after rehab some of the most challenging things that I found was figuring out how to raise my two kids, who were only three and six at the time. I felt that I really needed to connect with other people in my situation. How do you cook for them, clean for them, how do you go shopping, how do you go to the bank. How do you do all of that stuff, get them in and out of the car, and how to be as much like the person that you were before your injury as you were.

Because really having an injury, it doesn’t change who you are, it changes how you have to do things. So connecting with someone else who was in my situation helped me realize that I could do all these things again I just had to do them very differently than before.

Why is the Peer Support Program so important?

Talking to peers is so much different because we get it, we totally understand what we’re talking about, our different routines, the different questions we have, we live it on a daily basis, some of us have the same anxiety over some of the same issues. So it’s completely different as much as an able bodied person may want to try and relate, they can’t relate, they don’t get it. So there’s a huge comfort zone about talking to peers about the stuff that we all do on a daily basis that we have to do.

Rachel Allenbrand

Spinal Cord Injury BC Volunteer & Peer Family Member

Interviewed at Fintry Provincial Park in the Okanagan on June 22, 2013

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