Malika’s Story: At 20, Malika sustained a gunshot wound that left her paralyzed from the chest down. She spent one month in the intensive care unit and four months in a rehabilitation facility. Malika worked hard in rehab so that she could return home. “My daughter spent a lot of time at the facility, watching everything I did,” Malika said. “I knew I had to work hard and make her proud.”
While at the facility, Malika joined a peer-mentoring program to help other patients with similar injuries. “I didn’t have someone tell me what to do or how life was going to be different,” she said. “I now can help women understand what it is like to be a mother with a spinal cord injury.”
As part of the mentoring program, Malika spent time visiting with other patients at the facility. She would offer them advice or just listen to their stories, deeply understanding what they were experiencing. Once Malika was out of the facility and in her home, she continued to spend time with the individuals. The mentoring program has since lost funding, but Malika’s peers still call her. Now, at age 37, Malika is starting her own blog, called “Sitting Pretty Girl,” so that she can continue to offer support. “Just because the program doesn’t exist, I didn’t want them to lose their spirit,” she said.
While Malika has provided motivation and assistance to others, she says The Coordinating Center has done the same for her.
Our Impact: Malika’s coordinator helped her obtain necessary medical equipment, find an accessible home for her family and increase the amount of nursing hours she receives. “Racine has gone above and beyond her call of duty,” Malika said.