Woman With Transverse Myelitis Finds Freedom at Day on the Lake
Mesa resident Christina Chambers spent last Thursday jet skiing and kayaking at Bartlett Lake Marina as a participant in Barrow Neurological Institute’s 22nd Annual Day on the Lake. This innovative hospital-run event promotes health and wellness by providing a unique opportunity to individuals with neurological and physical disabilities to experience water recreation.
When Chambers was 12 years old, she woke up one morning paralyzed. Doctors diagnosed Chambers with transverse myelitis, or inflammation of the spinal cord that affects the nerves below the injury. “Doctor’s didn’t want to diagnose me with this at first, but after multiple tests they couldn’t deny this is what affected me,” says Chambers.
Chambers is now 21 years old and pursuing a degree in Parks and Recreation Management at Arizona State University. She went through rehabilitation at Barrow Neurological Institute, which is part of Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. She’s even part of Barrow Connection, a program that “connects” past patients with current patients for support.
Chambers has been participating in Day on the Lake for several years. “Day on the Lake has helped me so much. If you’re afraid to do something, come here and try it. It is amazing and so freeing,” says Chambers, who has also ridden in race cars and been skydiving after her life-changing experiences at Day on the Lake.
The annual event attracted close to 100 participants from around the United States and took place at Bartlett Lake Marina from May 31 through June 2. Adapted water sports included water skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, kayaking, tubing, boating, and fishing. This year even included wake surfing. Day on the Lake is the only integrated water sport event of this caliber offered in Arizona.
“Barrow believes that everyone has the right to live an active and productive life,” says Jo Crawford, program coordinator of Barrow Connection, which also runs Day on the Lake. “For some families, they say ‘it’s the first time I’ve played with my son or daughter’ since they’ve been injured, and they just had a great time. It is a life-changer for everybody.”
To obtain more information about the next Day on the Lake event taking place in September, or make a donation to the program, please visit www.barrowneuro.org/connection.