A family holiday to Thailand turned tragic for water-lover Sam Bloom when she leaned on a railing to admire the idyllic view. But the barrier was completely rotten, and it gave way:
“I fell six meters on to concrete, but nothing hurt as much as when the doctors said I would never walk again.” She sustained extensive injuries to her head and spine that paralysed her from the chest down.
The first year after the accident was incredibly hard, but her life changed again in an unexpected moment when her son found a baby magpie fallen from a tree. Named Penguin, the magpie joined Sam on a journey of recovery and healing, filling the Bloom family with a joy that had been missing since Sam’s accident.
Sam had grown up on the beach, living her days and life in the water and the waves, and thanks to her family, Penguin and a fantastic support network, her energy and positivity returned. She learned to kayak despite not being able to engage her core muscles for balance and was selected for the Australian Para Canoe team competing at the world titles in Italy 2015.
With her drive and passion returned, she got back in the surf, too, and won gold for Australia at the 2018 World Adaptive Surfing Championships in the USA.
"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. We need a scientific breakthrough to cure spinal cord injury. The only thing stopping it is funding.”
And that is exactly why Sam is joining Wings for Life World Run 2019 with her team of family, friends and supporters on May 5. They are all training hard to raise vital funds for spinal cord research. As Team Bloom, they will join thousands of others across the planet, all running for those who can’t. Everyone will start running, rolling or walking at exactly the same time, whether it’s day or night, and keep going until the moving finish line, the Catcher Car, passes them and finishes their race.
Sam is also the subject of the award-winning international best-selling book Penguin Bloom which will be adapted for a Hollywood movie starring Naomi Watts and produced by Reese Witherspoon. 10% of royalties go to leading spinal cure charities around the world, including Wings for Life.