When Kay Ledson’s son shattered three vertebrae in a horror snowboarding accident 18 years ago, doctors told her we would be paralysed for life. Four and a half months later, he walked out of the hospital.
Now, this determined Australian grandmother is walking across the US to bring attention to her message that while a spinal cord injury is a devastating life event, recovery below the injury is possible.
“Medical insurance needs to cover activity-based therapy below the injury,” she says. “Families are disabled in the hospital system from the moment of diagnosis. This has to change.”
Kay is nearing the end of her incredible 3085 mile journey that began in California in September last year and will end this month in Washington DC.
“By far the hardest part of the walk in the first three months was the isolation. A friend and mentor said to me early in the walk that it’s not the walking that gets you, it’s your mental state,” she says.
Kay turned to Handle Your Own PR for help generating media coverage before she out – and the results have been impressive.
“New Idea did a feature on my son and his wife through the initial press release,” she says. “The Nine Network also recorded a piece that truly captured our mission. In the US, I’ve done TV segments in Albuquerque and Amarillo, several local radio interviews, and been covered by local press outlets.
“I’ve been inspired by the families I’ve met along the way that are living with spinal cord injuries. I’ve also seen an amazing country by foot, and the people I’ve met have always been so supportive.”