Mandurah mother-of-two Tayla Stone said if she could send a message to her teenage self, it would be that things are going to be okay.
Sustaining a life-changing spinal cord injury in a dirt bike accident at just 16 years old, she found herself facing a confusing and unknown future.
But after tackling all the challenges the situation threw at her, Ms Stone will now use her experiences to support other people who find themselves in the position she was once in.
“Having an injury doesn’t have to hold you back, there’s so much more to life.”
Joining the Spinal Life Australia team as a peer support worker, Ms Stone is one of seven team members from the Perth and Peel regions providing support, guidance and mentoring to people in Western Australia who have sustained spinal cord damage.
Ms Stone said she wants to show the community there is life after a spinal cord injury.
“Having an injury doesn’t have to hold you back, there’s so much more to life,” she said.
“I had my injury at such a young age and it’s taken a lot of hard work and time to be able to realise that.
“Having been through that process myself, I know how valuable it can be to have someone tell you that it’s going to be okay.”
Spinal Life Australia member services executive manager Ross Duncan said the peer support program would build upon the disability support organisation’s member services, which were launched in WA in mid-2018.
“They’re a dedicated and local team of people who will draw upon their own lived experiences to provide life-long guidance to the WA spinal cord damage community,” he said.
“We’re also looking to get involved with the community to discuss important advocacy issues on access and equality, as well as working in conjunction with the in-hospital peer support program.”
Spinal Life has also recently trained personal support workers to provide specialist personal support services for WA residents with spinal cord damage, assisting them at home, work and in the community.
To find out more information about the peer support or personal support programs visit www.spinal.com.au