Jennifer Bou Lahoud
Date of Injury: December 28, 2008
Type of Injury: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Thoracic Spine 10-11 (vertebrate)
How the injury happened: I was involved in a sledding accident where I fell on my back and dislocated two vertebra at T 10-11 which caused my spinal cord to bruise. The doctor’s diagnosis: I would never be able to walk again. She continued by saying there were no medical treatments that would repair the injury caused to my spinal cord. One insignificant fall from a sled on a small hill in Big Bear, California changed my entire world.
What type of assistance has Be Perfect provided for you, and how has that helped you regain an independent and active lifestyle? I attend therapy on a regular basis. Every session at therapy, I am getting closer and closer to my goals. If I continue at this pace, I should be able to accomplish my goals of walking independently with a walker. By continuing my therapy, I will be not only physically healthier but also mentally and emotionally. In doing therapy and continuing to improve, I will be able to show others in my community that anything is possible. It has always been a goal to be an advocate of SCI community.
How has Be Perfect re-instilled hope back into your life again?
Before the day that changed my life, I attended St. Lucy’s Priory High School and played basketball for the city of San Dimas. Basketball was everything to me. I loved the feeling of the ball in my hand, dribbling it at my control, and hearing the sound of the net whishing when it made it in. But it all changed in a single moment.
I was denied to return to St. Lucy’s because of my disability but I did not give up on my education. I finished off my junior year by home schooling and then enrolled at San Dimas High School for my senior year. I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and continue my physical therapy.
With the support of the Be Perfect community, trainers, and friends, I was continuously motivated to continue my education. In December of 2014, I graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) thanks to the Swim with Mike Scholarship for physically disabled athletes. During my time there, I double majored in Neuroscience and Psychology. In May of 2016, I graduated USC again from the Master of Science in Applied Psychology Program. At both graduation, my primary trainer, Jenna Hardy, stood next to me as walked across the stage to obtain my diploma.
As I enter in the real world and look for a job, I have been able to network within the Be Perfect community in hopes to working in the Human Resource Department.
How has The Perfect Step helped you if applicable? I rely on my dreams and my motivations to shape my world. I have aspired to never give up on my dream to walk again and that is my underlying accomplishment. I devote my energy to rigorous exercise-based rehabilitation to regain motor ability in my legs. Working to my maximum capacity each day has allowed me to see significant improvements in my muscles and motor abilities. I have regained some movement and can currently take steps with the assistance of ankle foot orthopedics (AFOs) braces and a walker.
What are some goals that you have set for yourself, that you are proud to say that you have attained? Since attending The Perfect Step, I have gained tremendous strides in my recovery. I am now able to crawl in all directions, walk with the assistance of a walker and braces, and overall remained physically healthier.
What are some future goals that you would like to attain, that Be Perfect can help you achieve? My short-term health goal is to remain physically healthy and stand independently. If I continue at this pace, I should be able to accomplish these goals.
Anything else that you would like to tell the donors or a simple thank you that you would like to give them? At every session of therapy, I am getting closer and closer to my goals and it is possible because of you. I remain strong-minded, determined, motivated, and willing to continue my fight to walk again!