VIDEO ALERT: The Wings for Life ambassador inspired by a magpie

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Sam Bloom’s remarkable story is set to get the Hollywood film treatment.

When Sam Bloom was paralysed in a freak accident while on holiday in Thailand six years ago, she gave up hope.

But mentally brought back from the brink of despair with the help of an injured baby magpie, the Wings for Life World Run ambassador has set her sights on walking again. Here is all you need to know: 

– She will be among those lining up for the Wings for Life World Run at 11am UTC on Sunday May 5 with the same aim of every other participant, to find a cure for those like herself with spinal cord injuries.

– Back in 2013, she was holiday in Thailand when a safety barrier on her hotel balcony broke while she was leaning on it. She fell six metres onto a concrete floor, leaving her unable to walk again. When she came out of her coma, she likened it to suddenly being 120 years old.



– The accident left her physically and mentally broken. “The physical pain is unbearable but nothing hurt as much as when the doctor said I’d never walk again,” she said. “I never wanted to be a spectator, that’s not who I am. I miss playing with the boys, I miss me. I was depressed for the first year, everything seemed impossible.”

– By her own admission, she was almost ready to give up when one of her sons found an injured baby magpie, which the Blooms christened Penguin, and brought it back to the family home.



– She explained: “I think Penguin gave me back my confidence. My confidence level was zero after hospital. I thought I was the worst mum, the worst friend, everything. And so when we found Penguin I realised I could look after something and I wasn’t as useless as I thought I was. So, yeah, she gave me hope in that way as odd as it is. Penguin’s recovery gave me a sense of purpose. As my strength and mobility improved, I started to believe in myself again.”

– The Australian has competed for her country at the para canoe world championships back in 2015 as well as winning gold at the World Adaptive Surfing Championships in America in December.



– And her remarkable story has been turned into a book, Penguin Bloom, and the Hollywood treatment is also looming with Bloom set to be played by Naomi Watts on the big screen. And 10% of the film’s royalties are set to go to the Wings for Life.

– And Bloom has set her focus on helping raise funds and awareness to find a cure for spinal cord injury, the shared goal of the Wings for Life World Run. She added: “We need a scientific, medical breakthrough to cure spinal cord injury. But it’s not just about me. I promise you everyone with a spinal cord injury wants to walk again just as badly as I do. Some days I think they’ll find a cure and other days I think they won’t. I mean I’m sure they’ll find a cure but I want them to find it now. I don’t want to grow old in a wheelchair. My hope is that I’ll be standing in five years’ time. The only thing stopping it is funding and we can’t do it without your help.”

Sign up for next month’s Wings for Life World Run HERE.

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