Occasionally, there are people you meet that leave a lasting impression. Steve Plain is one of those guys. After only chatting to him (and his mum!) for 30 minutes, read why:
Who is Steve Plain anyway?
According to Steve's website Project7in4, early one summer's morning while swimming at the beach, Steve was dumped in a wave and went head first into the sand. The quick response from a friend, Dave Field, and two surf life savers, Lara and Gary Matier, undoubtedly saved his life.
Rushed to hospital under full spinal precautions, later confirmed to have sustained multiple unstable fractures to the C2, C3 & C7 vertebra, contorted spinal cord, ruptured disc, dissected arterial artery, torn ligaments…. the list went on.
In layman’s terms, Steve had a broken neck.
Doctors told him he should be in a wheel chair, if not worse. What the doctors did not know is just how stubborn Steve is....
Setting the Goal in Hospital
In hospital Steve set himself a goal: Climb the 7 Summits, the Highest Mountain on each of the Seven Continents, in under 4 Months. This would be a new world record. How hard can it be?
Now a mere 3 years later and Steve is making his dream a reality and in doing so raising money for SpinalCure Australia and Surf Life Saving WA to help people with spinal cord injuries walk again.
Below is a video of Steve during his rehab:
This interview with Steve was brought to you by MyCareSpace and was done in the middle of Steve's project of 7in4.
MYCARESPACE: Is there anything your resume does not tell us about you?
Steve: Most of the stuff in the public domain does not go into a lot of detail about the days following my injury. They were dark days and I experienced some low moments after my injury. I tried to stay positive and have a positive focus on things. What I have not spoken much about is how difficult it was for me in those early days after the injury. Not only for me, but it was equally hard for my carers and loved ones around me.
The most difficult thing was that everyone wanted to help but for someone like me - I am fiercely independent and don’t like accepting help - that was the toughest. My independence was taken away. It reminded me what I could not do.
MYCARESPACE: What makes you different from other people?
Steve: I am not that different from others. I don’t believe what I am doing is that remarkable. It's humbling to think people think so, but I have a goal and mentally I am pushing for that. I set myself the challenge in hospital and that was essential in the early days of my recovery. It gave me focus. I have always had an element of stubbornness and a fixation with seeing things through. I always look for the positive in everything and take things in my stride.
MYCARESPACE: Were you like this before the accident?
Steve: The accident taught me to be resilient and to appreciate everything we have. Mundane things don’t upset me anymore.
MYCARESPACE: Today you visited a 12-year-old child in hospital who has also had a spinal cord injury – what did you say to him?
Steve: I just gave him a little bit of hope. It’s not helpful when people are overly positive or when people say you will be fine when they don’t know that. The most important thing for me at the time of my injury was having people around to support me.
MYCARESPACE: If there was one word to describe you what would it be?
Steve: Stubborn and if I had two words it would be extremely stubborn. I have always been very determined and my will to succeed is more about never wanting to give up.
MYCARESPACE: How weird would your friends say you are?
Steve: Probably not at all since they are all like me, and doing similar things.
(Mum: Steve never ceases to amaze me. When he called to tell me he had broken his neck, it was a mother’s worst nightmare ….and yet it was so reassuring to hear it from him.)
Steve: I had decided soon after my accident that I wanted to be the one to tell mum. It was the hardest thing to do but I wanted her to hear it from me. When I verbalised to mum that I had broken my neck, it was only then the full magnitude and impact of my injury hit me. But I have always been fiercely independent, and I had to face this head on.
MYCARESPACE: What does spirituality mean to you?
Steve: I was brought up Catholic, but I have never really been that spiritual. It gave me a good standing and is the basis of my underlying values of kindness, caring for others and making the most of every situation.
MYCARESPACE: What happens after the 4 months of climbing is over?
Steve: I have not really thought about that. I realise it might be difficult to slot back into normal life and that it will take some adjustment. I am the type of person that finishes one thing and then I will find the next goal!!
Through Project 7in4
Steve is raising awareness and funds for SpinalCure Australia and Surf Life Saving WA to hlep people with spinal cord injuries walk again. All donations
Join In: If you'd like to join in and be part of Project 7in4, Steve is running an Everest Base Camp Trek
coinciding with his Everest climb in April.