On July 19, 2015, 23-year-old Kim Ocampo was riding her bike to work when she was struck by a car, causing a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Despite the injury, Kim has remained positive, attacking the difficult task of improving her mobility with a smile. Now she's ready for another challenge — the Wings for Life World Run. An Orlando resident and new Wings for Life ambassador, Kim will race in Sunrise, Florida with her team, "KimSmilesforMiles."
Check out a Q&A with Kim Ocampo below, and hear how she uses positivity to battle adversity:
How has your training been going lately?
Kim: Training has been a great learning experience, facing the difficult challenges of gaining strength and mobility. It's been a fun sort of “obstacle course” every time I go to therapy or do exercises at home.
I can't really pinpoint new challenges, because I experience so many new challenges every day, but the most common challenge is probably getting used to getting in and out of my car alone. It's been more of a success than a failure, though, so it’s not too bad.
How do you overcome the challenges you face?
I honestly just try over and over again until I succeed. I've actually made a promise to myself, since I was in the hospital, to overcome a minimum of one fear or challenge each day. It doesn’t matter how big or small of a fear it is as long I face it. I've actually gotten to the point where I'm challenging on purpose because I enjoy overcoming my fears — it's a fulfilling, empowering feeling.
Why are you excited about the Wings for Life World Run?
The Wings for Life race is so exciting because I'm able to spread awareness for spinal cord injury and share the experience of what it's like to live your life in a wheelchair. This race unites strangers, family and friends for a good cause, to accomplish a goal together. That’s my favorite part — teamwork makes the dream work!
What does the support of family and friends mean to you?
The support of my friends and family that I’ve received throughout this journey with Wings for Life will help me create a brand new, unforgettably happy memory in Sunrise, one that will overcome my scariest memory — my bicycle accident. Being able to complete this challenge along with my supporters fills me with love, and I want to pay it forward. I'm really excited to mark this race as one big accomplishment with my friends and family, running with motivation and a dedication to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries. I want to help raise funds for research on spinal cord injury and find a cure soon!
What has this process taught you?
It doesn't matter how long you live, but how you live. On wheels or not, you can live your life to the fullest. To start that journey you have to start with yourself. Better yourself mentally, emotionally and physically to find internal happiness. Once you have internal happiness you can help others around you find it.
I also believe it's important to surround yourself with positive people. You become what you surround yourself with, and if you’re surrounded by negativity you need to find positivity around you. It can come in different ways — motivational books, movies, songs — things that send a message on how to better yourself. The more you do that for yourself, the faster you'll see better results in your life. I’ve been able to do this myself and it's allowed me to overcome many difficult situations and become the best Kim that I could be. This process has been both my biggest challenge in life and the best journey that I’ve ever experienced.
Join Kim today whether you run in Sunrise, Florida, or Santa Clarita, California — or anywhere in the world via the Selfie Run using the all-new Wings for Life World Run app, available on iOS and Android.