We've pretty much redrawn all of our day-to-day realities around here. And we did it in real time. It wasn't planned. It wasn't expected.
It started two years ago when Chloë suddenly lost the use of her legs. It was rare, sudden and life changing.
It transformed everything.
In a matter of just 24 hours, Chloë went from experiencing a strange tingling in her legs to being told she was now paralyzed from the waist down.
"I can't tell you how it feels when someone says you'll never walk again. You're heartbroken," says Chloë. "Your life changes. Suddenly you have to relearn how to do everything."
She started learning immediately. We all did. Just four days after diagnosis, Chloë was back to work. Literally from her hospital room. It was how she gained clarity; how we all did.
Chloë equates being stubborn and her surprise move to design an entire collection from her hospital room
"Those who know me best know two things: I'm a hard worker and I'm stubborn," notes Chloë. "Plus, creativity is therapeutic. It's healing. So I designed an entire season while I was still at the GF Strong rehab centre."
Seriously ... just four days. Chloë brought in the whole team. We had the models, the fittings, the rolling racks, the clothes ... all onsite. Everything. Right there in the hospital room. It was remarkable. And it was a success!
Two years later, Chloë can use that wheelchair like a pro and we've all learned new ways of getting things done. We've also learned that accessibility is a key component of this new reality.
Chloë at work in her accessible studio
Problem is, not all the places we need to go can be accessed by a wheelchair. We get around it one way or another, or Chloë does. But not everyone has the same support and resources. We want to see accessibility for everyone, everywhere.
That's part of the reason we support Disability Alliance BC and its mission to champion issues like accessibility for all. We also support Spinal Cord Injury BC for the work they do to help so many people to adjust, adapt and thrive.
Chloë's own words seem to sum up our journey over the past 24 months, "We are diverse; our bodies, our abilities, our cultures ... and that's beautiful. That's celebratory."
It's also pretty effin amazing.
All photos in this post from the Fall 2016 issue of The Spin, published by Spinal Cord Injury BC.
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