I wondered if I could do to something useful with the time I spend on social media. I knew myself and I felt that the day when I would use my phone only for its proper purpose was close This day has arrived as I have decided to come into this great website and tell you my story .
Here is the beginning of my personal blog on www.disabledmagazine.online where I will write about me and my life, about my happy and bad experiences.
If you wish to discover more about me and my life, stay tuned!
I am happy that I found a solution to transform my bored time on social media into a great way to tell you my story, but at the same time to hear your story too.
My name is Roxana Dobrica. I was born in 1985, and grew up in Romania. In 2009, I came to Italy to look for a better life. It was an exciting adventure, a new start – or so I thought. Two weeks after my arrival a car I was riding with a friend was hit from the side by another vehicle. My friend walked away with barely a scratch. I was paralyzed completely from the chest down. My spinal injury led my spiraling down into years of depression. I did not want to accept my condition, I hoped for a miracle every day, I imagined that I was lifted from the wheelchair and that I was walking again on my feet. I did not accept disabled people around me because I did not want to see my myself as a person with a disability. I could not be someone having a paralyzed body! For many years, I was living with the thought that I need constant help. I was dependent and I was despondent. In September 2016, after multiple problems including a bout with septicemia (a bacterial blood poisoning), disappointments including loved ones, and material issues, I decided that it was enough. I could not stay in the house all the time, wait on others for mercy and help, complain and despair. I shook myself up and made a decision to change the course of my life. I asked to be hospitalized again in Domus Salutis in Brescia, Italy, where I was living, and this time I heard those who were telling me that life is still beautiful, that it is worth living, that I can be independent, and I enjoy walking through it even though I could not move my legs. I met a group of wonderful athletes – para-cyclists, who race hand-cranked bicycles – and joined the team of Active Sport Brescia. They showed me what it means to embrace your limitations and overcome them; lots of them are also completely independent, going to schools to talk to children there about life with disability, adaptive sports and accessible streets. At the same time, I also accepted the offer to become a model for Iulia Barton Inclusive agency and have been participating in the Milano Fashion Week since 2016, presenting the apparel for prominent designers. I also became a motivational speaker, having been invited to local schools, clubs, and even the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest. My life has become an example for many others and I have acquired purpose that way. In no way could I have thought this possible before! Above all else, I also became a hand cycling athlete, participating in all stages of the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy). The goal that I have been working toward is competing in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. To that end, in November 2017 I arrived in San Diego, California, to train during the winter months. That part of the year is wet and cold in Europe. So, I just took to the internet and started researching, looking for a place that has amenable climate to continue my diligent workout regimen. On a hand cycle, you are lying on your back really low to the ground, with limited visibility and completely exposed to the elements. This makes even rain much more problematic than on the usual upright bicycle, let alone snow and sleet, which are outright dangerous. Because of my lack of innervation in the lower limbs cold can cause permanent damage to my body, too. Long story short, I invested all my available funds into a three-month stay in California, jumped on the plane, and I made some tremendous friends without knowing anyone in advance! I stayed with the wonderful Enge family, who helped me with the otherwise very expensive accommodations and supported me through a challenging adaptation. My contacting the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) paid off in terms of a strict daily training regimen and numerous new contacts. They introduced me to many new friends. In February 2018 I was able to complete the grueling 100 miles of the Tour de Palm Springs, which I consider my strongest athletic achievement to date. I traveled around Southern California and was invited for inspirational talks and appearances, including at a university. Now I am back in Italy, ramping up my training. I will build strength and endurance, and I will participate in many races, adding to my collection of medals. Yet the long-term goal remains Tokyo 2020.
All the best! Roxana D.