Christina Vithoulkas and fiance James Wild at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. (Supplied: Christina Vithoulkas and James Wild)
A motorbike accident in South Australia last month ago robbed trailblazing motocross rider Christina Vithoulkas of the use of her legs, but not her love of life, with the 23-year-old vowing to make the most of every day.
Ms Vithoulkas, a freestyle motocross rider who lives in Tongala in northern Victoria, was out riding with friends, including her fiance James Wild, when she mistimed the landing of a jump.
“I was a little out of my comfort zone,” she told the ABC.
“Once I hit the ramp I knew I hadn’t hit it fast enough, so I knew the landing was going to be rough.”
She landed headfirst next to her bike, with her legs wrapping themselves around her torso.
“All I remember is waking up and I knew it was serious. I remember James saying, ‘Can you feel this? Can you feel that?’ I couldn’t feel a thing.”
Relief amid the devastation
Ms Vithoulkas broke her ribs, damaged her spleen, punctured her lungs and severed her spinal cord, leaving her a paraplegic.
She described her time in the Royal Adelaide Hospital intensive care unit as a blur.
The next thing she remembered was asking the doctors if she would ever be able to walk again.
“They said no, there’s no chance,” she said.
But Ms Vithoulkas said that was not the question, or the answer, that was going to make her lose hope.
“That I could live with,” she said.
“The second question I had to ask was will I ever be able to have children again? That was going to ruin me if they said no. But they said, ‘Yes, you can’. I was really relieved.”
Ms Vithoulkas was yesterday transferred from the Royal Adelaide Hospital to the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, with Mr Wild at her side for the journey.
Friends and family have established a GoFundMe page and raised more than $92,000 to help pay medical bills and make the couple’s home more wheelchair-friendly.
Couple determined to stay positive
The pair refuse to wallow in self-pity, preferring instead to look to the positives.
“My motto is, there is no point wasting a minute on any day thinking negative. It’s just a waste of time,” Ms Vithoulkas said.
“Why would you choose to be negative when you could be happy?”
“I don’t have time to worry about being paralysed. I’m not going to waste any of my time on that,” she said.
Ms Vithoulkas said she was looking forward to going back to work and eventually getting back on her bike.
“We’ll get a frame made on my bike. I won’t be hitting a ramp, but you’ll definitely see me scooting around on the paddock,” she said.