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Inspirational Stories

From Tragedy to Triumph
How breaking my neck changed my life for the better

by Natalie Gunther

On 9 August 2014 I was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident at the hands of someone else. We were travellling on the highway when our vehicle rolled and I was flung 15m from the vehicle. When the paramedics arrived they found me unconscious with severe injuries.
I woke up in ICU with a broken neck, fractures in my back and neck, blood on my brain, a hole in my eardrum, multiple bruises and cuts. The neurosurgeon had told me that he would be operating two days later and that I had a 40% chance of survival and if I did survive I had a 50% chance of being paralysed.

They operated to fuse my vertebrae together with a metal plate and I survived the operation. After 5 days in ICU I was transferred to the general ward for a further 6 days. I was then discharged with a neck brace.
I was forced to move back to my parents where I was bed-ridden for the most part of 5 months. To the shock of all the medical practitioners I survived and recovered incredibly well – without even being paralysed as most had predicted I would be.
Before the accident I was employed full time so being stuck in bed I realised I had to make a new plan to earn an income. I had prior to my accident considered starting a business or a charity and had for a long time also been interested in learning to do web design. So I decided since I was bed-ridden there was no better time than the present to do all the things I had been thinking of doing for such a long time. I had my logo designed while I was I still in hospital and over the next few months of being stuck in bed I succeeded in opening my business, in starting a charity and I taught myself how to do website design and graphic design.
My business grew slowly but within a year I started employing staff members and moved into an office. My life changed dramatically following my accident. I used to sing, DJ and play a lot of sports but with a hole in my ear, a plate in my throat and a fragile body I can no longer do those things . However I also realised that all those activities actually took up a lot of my time. Now I am able to usse my time to invest in growing myself, my business, my charity and in making a difference in the world through my story.
People think I am crazy for saying that I am grateful for the accident but my accident made me realise how precious life is and I am so thankful to be alive today. I absolutely love what I do in my business. I also found my passion which is to inspire people and to remind people to be grateful for all the blessings they have in their lives.
We all face challenges in life but it is up to each one of us to find the silver lining and to fight through our circumstances. Life is so short and it really can change in an instant so make the most of every moment of your life. Set goals for yourself, put action plans in place and then just make them happen. Nothing is impossible and it is those who refuse to give up that will ultimately succeed.
It is an absolute miracle that I am alive today. I am healthy and I am blessed in my business. It t is all with thanks to God who helped me every step of the way.

Natalie Gunther
Green Leaf Project
info@greenleafproject.co.za
www.greenleafproject.co.za

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