“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”― Maya Angelou

Difficult things are going to happen in your life. Some of them will demand that you completely start over and rebuild yourself. It’s scary, but we’ve seen time and time again that it’s possible. So I’d like to introduce you to someone who is a perfect example of coming back from hardship with a bigger impact than ever.

Image: Line of sea kayaks

Source: Pixabay

We’re all going to have to face these moments at some point. Whether someone close to you passes away, you experience an injury or any of the other numerous major events that can completely shake your life. And while there’s no one thing that can truly heal those wounds, it’s still great to know there are people out there living great lives after trauma and making an impact on the world.

Introducing, Philippa Arding.

In 2013, Philippa, or Pa for short, was awarded Fundraiser of the Year for the Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading charity for the protection of marine life. But before this, she experienced two life-threatening injuries that made it so she had to approach life a little differently in the aftermath of a brain injury and going through physical rehabilitation.

Pa has always lived an active life, full of sports, enjoying what the planet has to offer, and supporting organizations working to save it all. In 1988, way before her accidents, she even biked from Alaska to Rio de Janeiro over the course of 11 months while working with the World Wildlife Fund along the way. 1

Taking To The Sea

After her first accident, in 2013 she and her husband Nick began to organize sea kayak excursions to raise awareness and money for the Marine Conservation Society (which led to Pa winning the fundraiser of the year award that same year). Last year was the 5th anniversary of their Sea Kayak Challenge. (Learn more about the challenge by clicking here.)

The talented filmmaker, Greg Dennis, brings us the story of how this sport has given her freedom in her rehabilitation and has led her to organize people to come together and work towards a cleaner planet.

It may just give you a few ideas on all that survivors are capable of. (Yes, even you!)

Brilliant, isn’t she?

“Pa’s story is about the human spirit and the fact that we all have an inherent resilience and natural well-being. And if we can just allow it to, it will shine out.

What is different about Philippa is that she’s not interested in herself. She spends her time not looking in but looking out.” — Nick Arding

For a closer look at Pa Arding’s life and what kind of fundraising she and her husband Nick have worked on, take a look at this article from Seven Seas Media:  http://bit.ly/2RJfyek

If you’d like to learn more about the Marine Conservation Society please head over to their website, or give them a follow on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube channel! They’re doing amazing things!

You can see more amazing work from Greg Dennis (the creator of this beautiful video) by visiting his Vimeo portfolio or website. And make sure you give him a follow on Instagram to stay up to date with his projects!

Meet more people who have come back from injury swinging.

These two following articles are all about what happens after you’re handed the unexpected. In a life that’s completely unpredictable in nature, these stories are far from being the only ones you will find. But they’re sure a good start in our journey to knowing we all have it in us to not only survive what happens to us but come back with an entirely new kind of strength.

20 minutes

Aimee Mullins’ 12 Pairs of Legs

Aimee Mullins became an athletic phenomenon in 1996 when she smashed several world records as the fastest human being, yet she has no legs. Is she "disabled"?

Read More

18 minutes

Janine Shepherd: The Flight of an Unstoppable Spirit

A world of possibilities is waiting for us if we lighten our load! Here is an amazing person to be our guide.

Read More

You can find even more brilliant accounts like these two in an article from TED titled “7 Powerful Stories of Recovery After Injury“. Click here to go to it.

So how are other people working to gather communities around great causes?

Glad you asked! There are so many examples but here are three you can pop into right now:

15 minutes

Guerrilla Gardener Takes on South Central LA

Meet Ron Finley; an amazing fellow who's come up with a better idea than battling over turf. How about using "turf" in a very old way! Take a look!

Read More

12 minutes

Libraries on the Front Lines of Homelessness

Public libraries are finding novel and wonderful new roles in our communities despite the evolving digital world. Here is one that has it all: it makes the best of elements that were in plain sight and the model can apply to all kinds of problem-solving.

Read More

22 minutes

What Happens When Athletes and Scientists Team Up?

To put it simply: breakthroughs. This nonprofit is making it possible for scientists to get the data they need from every corner of the planet by teaming them up with the adventurers who are already there.

Read More

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams 

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  1. Majoros, Kevin. Seven Seas Media , Seven Seas Media , July 2018, sevenseasmedia.org/marine-conservation-societys-sea-kayak-challenge-nick-phillipa-arding/. Accessed 15 Jan. 2019.
  2. “LOOKING OUT.” Vimeo, Greg Dennis, 5 Sept. 2018, vimeo.com/288396150. Accessed 9 Jan. 2019.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.