In 2013, a family holiday to Thailand turned tragic when Sam fell six metres from a resort balcony. She sustained extensive injuries to her head and spine that resulted in her being paralysed from the chest down.
Sam is candid about living with a spinal injury. "Being paralysed is a little like waking up from a coma to find you are 120 years old."
With the support of her family Sam became active once more and learned to kayak despite not being able to engage core muscles for balance. With determination, commitment and a fantastic support network, Sam was selected onto the Australian Para Canoe team competing at the world titles in Italy 2015.
Sam is also the subject of the award winning international best selling book Penguin Bloom which will be adapted for a Hollywood movie staring and produced by Naomi Watts. 10% of royalties are donated to leading spinal cure charities around the world including Wings for Life.
"Sustaining a spinal cord injury was the worst thing that ever happened to me but finding a cure will be the greatest day for millions of people around the world. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for Wings For Life.”
Sam now helps other people with a spinal cord injury discover sport and has recently returned to surfing. In December 2018, Sam won gold for Australia at the World Adaptive Surfing Championships in the USA.