My life before the accident
My name is Brit. I had the privilege of growing up in two cultures, the German and the American one. My parents had their hands full with raising me, I was a wild child and a rebellious teenager. I studied Literature and Politics at university. At the same time I worked half-days for an airline, which enabled me to travel a lot.
After my son was born, my parents and I decided to build a house together, putting three generations under the same roof. Friends of mine gave me a skydive as a present and I discovered my big passion for skydiving. I successfully completed an AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) course, got my teacher's license, became a tandem master and AFF instructor. During summer I skydived in Germany, in winter in the USA. Later I had the privilege of teaching skydiving students for Swiss skydiving schools more and more often. I was extremely happy skydiving and teaching students. My son and I travelled a lot. We loved being in the mountains and by the water, regardless of the weather. We enjoyed sleeping in our VW van or in the tent. The only important thing was to be together and outside.
He was a fantastic travel companion and we a had terrific time together.
My recreational activities were climbing, skiing and horseback riding. When I needed to clear my thoughts I went running across the fields and through the woods. I loved to dance, preferably all night long. I enjoyed working in Switzerland tremendously, but I missed my family more and more during my frequent absences from home. So I decided to return to university for the winter semester 2006 and work with my parents at their art gallery.
On December 30, 2006 all of our lives were dramatically changed. I went snowboarding, staying at the cabin of friends of an acquaintance in Switzerland. In the middle of the night, the closet part of the hide-a-bed I was sleeping in fell on me. The fifth cervical vertebra was pushed out of my spine and squeezed off my spinal cord. Due to the late hour and the cabin being way up a mountain, it took until morning until I was flown to hospital by helicopter. I had an emergency surgery in Switzerland, was flown to Germany by helicopter a day later and had more surgery there. I spent many months in hospital and at the rehabilitation clinic. The biggest part of my spinal cord is scarred, I am paralyzed from the shoulders downward and need a wheelchair. Extreme muscle cramps and severe neuropathic pain are a constant nuisance. I'm dependent on nurses 24 hours a day.
Daily exercise sessions with therapists bring relief and we have achieved progress over the years, I'm hoping for more. I still dream of walking again someday. My dear friend Olaf, whom I have known since we were teenagers, is running a crowdfunding project on “gofundme” (https://de.gofundme.com/help4brit). The goal is to enable me to train with the exoskeleton again.
My parents help and support me every day. They do the grocery shopping and run errands for me, help me deal with the administrative bodies and insurances and drive me to doctor‘s appointments. Regardless if it's daily routine or emergency, they're always there to help my son and me. My parents support us with all they have.
My apartment, situated right above my parent's apartment, has a view looking across a small, green valley and is very bright. The woods and meadows across the valley show me the passing of the seasons. The many children playing and laughing in the neighborhood let me take part in life in front of the house. This is where my home, my sanctuary, my family is.
For years we lived with the always present danger of the bank auctioning off my apartment. This problem was finally resolved end of 2018.
After 12 years of fighting for compensation in Switzerland, our demand was denied by the highest court of law.