At age 21, Kirstie Ennis had been living the life of her desires. The daughter of two Marine corps, she had enlisted at seventeen and was flying combat plus rescue missions in Afghanistan being an aerial observer and gunner. “ I was the eyes and ear for the pilot, letting him understand what’ s going on behind plus around him, ” she states. “ I’ m small— 5’ 4” and 115 pounds— so that as a woman I had to fight teeth and nail to prove which i could do the job. But it was worthwhile. I loved everything about it. ”
June 23, this year, started like any other day. The lady and her team had currently completed one mission and had been en route to pick up Marines who were pinned down in an active combat area in Helmand Province, when their particular helicopter suddenly went nose straight down, then rolled to the left and damaged. “ I just watched the ground arrive towards me and hoped I might open my eyes afterward, ” the girl recalls.
Repairing a life
Kirstie suffered a traumatic mind injury as well as severe damage to the girl face, spine, shoulders and still left leg. “ When you’re recovering from the traumatic injury, you don’t just eliminate yourself physically but mentally plus emotionally, ” she says at this point. “ You wonder if you’ll actually be the same person again. For me personally that was a pretty huge internal fight. ”
One year following the accident, on her “ Alive Day time, ” as critically injured vets call their traumatic anniversaries, the girl tried to take her own life. “ It was a very dark time, and am thought I didn’t want to be right here anymore, ” she says. “ After my suicide attempt, my father was the one who talked some feeling into me. He said, ‘ The enemy didn’t kill you. The reason why would you try to do it yourself? You’ lso are tougher than that. ’ It had been just what I needed to hear. ”
Afterward, Kirstie ceased dwelling on what she couldn’t perform and began thinking about what the lady could do. Several months before, an organization called Impaired Sports USA experienced taught her to snowboard, and he or she loved it. “ During the subsequent season, I trained hard, which became my lifeline, ” the lady says. “ Snowboarding restored our confidence and gave me joy. This literally got me up on my very own two feet again. ”
Seeking new summits
In the yrs after the crash, Kristie endured lots of surgeries to reconstruct her encounter and attempt to save her remaining leg. Then in 2015, physicians had to amputate the leg— 1st below the knee, then, right after an infection set in, above the leg. “ With an above-the-knee amputation you’ re basically starting from scratch in mastering how to use your leg again, ” she says.
Rather than losing hope, she got starving. She threw herself into rock climbing, and set herself the goal of summiting the particular Seven Summits— the highest peaks upon all seven continents, including Everest.
In March this season she summited Kilimanjaro, then within July topped Indonesia’ s specialized and treacherous Carstensz Pyramid— the very first combat-wounded female amputee to achieve each peaks. “ Carstensz was intense, ” she says. “ I was climbing in blizzards, but We proved to myself I could get it done. ” Now she has her places set on snowboarding in the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.
“ After my incident, I did lots of psychotherapy, but speaking with someone who had no idea what I’ d been through didn’t help, ” she says. “ Being actual physical did. It gave me a sense of objective, made me believe in myself plus showed me how resilient my figure is. It gave me goals, brought me to a career and offered me the courage and strength We needed to move past my injury plus into the future. ”
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