I think that it's so important to have positive role models in our community, role models that inspire not only others who deal with SCI or otherwise but even the more 'able' of the population too.
The paralympics must be one of the most significant factors to help change the generalised perspective of 'disability'...( thank goodness for Sir Ludwig Gutmann, founder of the Paralympic Movement ). Of course, there is still a long way to go but individuals such as Jeannette Chippington who is 47 has won 11 world titles in canoeing so far do a great service in dispelling the opinion that disability means incapable!
It is important to have role models for kids but for adults you need to do your own thing and be your own person, look up to yourself and achieve what the most important things in life are to you. Then people will look up to you.
I don't particularly aspire to any so-called role models. Go to Stoke Mandeville spinal hospital and you see pictures of athletes all over the wall, as if to show the world how capable paraplegics can be, or this is what to aspire to (the best you can become). We are all heroes in our own right and in our own setting: Christopher Reeve, Stephen Hawking and forum members like Tj who cannot sleep due to pain and discomfort and yet never gripes or moans; vintage with her good nature and breath―taking alternative medicine knowledge; and so many other people on this website, come nearer the mark than well-known athletes. I guess I'm an existentialist. No, I definitely don’t need role models. But I do quietly admire people for their achievements. I admire you Lara for the way you publicly explain your most intimate details without a hint of bashfulness. You could put yourself in the athletic class of achievers, like a wheelchair marathon racer who spends months trying to achieve their goal, working themselves to an explosive climax. Peak experiences are to be found in every aspect of life and not just in front of crowds of adoring fans. I expect we’d all be surprised how at many people quietly admire us for what we do and put up with. Happy Christmas and a problem free New Year to everybody.