Hasia Atherton: A touching moment when a paraplegic stood up for his 30th birthday

Footage has surfaced of the moment a woman crushed by a 600-pound horse stood in front of her family and friends for the first time since the accident.

Hasia Atherton, 34, was told she would never walk again after a horse reared and fell on her while training for an equestrian championship when she was 29.

A Melbourne woman was taken to hospital with a crushed pelvis, nerve damage and spinal injuries.

Despite a nine-hour operation, Ms. Atherton was left wheelchair-bound and told she would never walk “really meaningfully” again.

On her 30th birthday, Ms Atherton told her friends and family she had a “surprise” to give them a “surprise” as her sister and husband helped her up.

In an emotional moment, as tears rolled down Ms. Atherton’s face, she told the group, “You are the reason I do this.”

“I couldn’t have done this without any of you. So thank you so much for coming here and supporting me,” she said.

The crowd can be heard applauding in response to the heartfelt message.

In an interview with The Project on Tuesday, Ms Atherton said the transition from an athlete to re-learning to walk has changed her core personality.

“It was like my soul was being pulled out of my body and I was just a bag of bones and skin and muscle lying there with no purpose to do anything. I was alive, but what made me alive was gone,” she said.

Just five months after the accident, Ms Atherton stood up on her own for the first time and walked almost a kilometer with the frame.

Two years after the first steps, the former athlete walked 5 km on her own.

“After those first 5 km, I was in a different space. I stood there with my partner and the dogs, just overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. I realized how much magic there is in the world,” she said.

“I would think, ‘You used to be a high-level athlete, but now you can’t walk a kilometer without help and struggle with your bladder.

She also ran a half marathon and cycled over 100 km.

After her accident, Ms. Atherton rekindled her passion for the profession while learning how women deal with the hardships of the industry.

Now the 34-year-old woman worked as a welder at the family factory before taking up horseback riding.

Ms. Atherton founded a charity called Empowering Women in Trade to provide jobs for women in a male-dominated industry.

Only 3 percent of women are represented in the industry, although the current activist aims to increase this number to 25 percent by 2030.

“I learned so much about positive psychology in the hospital and now I know that working women do not feel psychologically safe in the industry, so we give them training and support so that this is no longer an obstacle,” she said. said.

“Seriously, when women tell me that there is no job for them, especially where they can earn a decent living wage.

“It reminds me of when I was in the hospital thinking I had no more options, that walking wasn’t on the table for me.”

The charity is also committed to helping women find courses at TAFE that will help them earn an apprenticeship.

Originally published as Touching moment: a paralyzed man stood up for his 30th birthday