George had an accident 22 years ago, following a dive in the Siret river. Having a spinal cord injury and being diagnosed with tetraplegia at only 19 years old, he initially went through a critical period, in which he faced his different medical condition and his activity limitations, on the one hand, and the fear of permanently depending on someone else, on the other hand. Then he began to recover, which helped him to become more and more confident and made it easier for him to adapt to this new reality.
With the help of the team at Motivation Romania Foundation, he developed more and more independent living skills: “slowly I started to dress up on my own, to put on my shoes. Maybe for someone else these would seem normal things, very easy, but for me it was very difficult. All my colleagues around me were telling me to trust myself in order to succeed. At first, I could not do it, but, as time passed, after a few weeks, I succeeded. We were starting the program around 8 in the morning, but I used to wake up at 5 am, so I had time to take a shower, to get dressed. It all seemed very difficult at first – I used to fell, to only put on one sock instead of two, but after three hours I was finally ready for a new day. ”
After a while, he was asked by the Foundation if he wanted to be part of the Motivation Romania team. He continued to attend independent living training sessions, where wheelchair users from all over the country come in order to learn to became active again. George became an independent living trainer. “I also shared my experience in order to teach other people to be active, in the same way that my colleagues had previously taught me. For me, this is a great joy.”
Since 2010, George has been part of the Motivation Foundation’s team in Galati, where he was one of the first employees. At first, he was an active rehabilitation trainer, and then he became the coordinator of the local team. He is married to Andreea, who is also part of the team.
Take a look below, at some pictures showing a day from George’s life.
The story of George was written within the project “Advocacy for community access for wheelchair users”, implemented by Motivation Romania Foundation in partnership with Segoia Association, with financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the SEE Grants 2014-2021. The project aims to support the social inclusion of people with disabilities by improving the mobility and health of wheelchair users.
More information about the project can be found by accessing the link https://motivation.ro/en/abilities-and-rights-matter/.
Working together for an inclusive Europe.
Story written by: Bogdan Dinca, Erika Garnier
Pictures: Bogdan Dinca