Bryce Rafferty: An American's SCI story in Switzerland
My name is Bryce John Rafferty. I am a 26 year old American man currently living in Colorado, where I went to college. I grew up in New England around Boston and New York, but much like the Swiss people, I love the mountains and the healing energy of life and beauty they provide. I had a diving accident in Prangins on 30/8/09 that broke my neck and left me as a C5-6 tetra. I was the third young man in 20 years to break their neck diving at that beach off of a long pier, and subsequently the canton decided to remove it. Sadly, I was injured just one day after I moved in with my host family, and one day before classes started for the study abroad program I was a part of in Geneva. I was studying International Relations and French. I was saved from drowning by a boy Damien who is part of the host family from Prangins who graciously let me stay with them. A helicopter flew me to SPZ where I spent 45 days in ICU. While in ICU I contracted pneumonia and lost all function in my left arm because of a cyst in my spinal cord that was partially fixed here in the USA. All told I was at SPZ for 5 months before flying to Craig Hospital here in Denver for further rehabilitation.
Almost exactly a year post-injury, I returned to college, and graduated with a degree in International Political Economy in 2012. Since then, I have lived in Denver and been taking steps further and further towards living as independently and happily as possible. I now have a car and am able to drive, worked 3 part-time jobs, and am composing music again but now on the computer. I will be working again hopefully by mid summer, and plan to go to graduate school in the coming years. Below are 2 links to videos my father put together about my early recovery.
I will be forever grateful for SPZ, it's employees, and the wonderful people I met there. I will be back to Switzerland soon I hope. In the meantime feel free to contact me here on paraforum if you have any questions/comments or just want to talk.
All the best to all my Swiss brothers and sisters in wheelchairs and to SPZ. Ciao!
'Perseverance Under Pressure'
'Finishing Up Strong'
Perseverance TEDx talk