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New Start

Every day gives us the opportunity for a new start. How do you start a new life situation?

The story of Linda Lüthi

"I was born with the diagnosis of spina bifida. This disease is a congenital spinal cord injury that cannot be healed. Since I was born, I’ve had major surgery at least three times. Now, I just have a few minor operations to go.

I always knew that I was a little different to my siblings and school friends. For a long time, this wasn't a problem. However, in Year 4, it became obvious: the interests of and possibilities for my able-bodied friends were becoming increasingly different to those for me in my wheelchair.

When I switched to a school for children with physical disabilities, I realised that there were lots of other children like me. Today I know that I can do lots of things in a wheelchair, too. My family has taught me to see everything that’s still possible. I do wheelchair sports and I’m good at them. I’m soon going to be applying for apprenticeships."

"It gives me courage to see that I’m not the only one."

Linda Lüthi, spina bifida
Overview stories Beacons of Hope

New life

The Intensive Care Unit is already part of rehabilitation. This is where the new start begins. Keeping joints mobile, overcoming swallowing and speech difficulties caused by breathing, identifying cognitive problems, dealing with emotional strain, and many other processes make up the first step towards independence.  Tom Hansen and Annemiek de Jager of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre both have a great deal of experience in the care and treatment of patients on the Intensive Care Unit. They tell us what affects patients and relatives – but also what they themselves are affected by.

Reinventing yourself

The Amazonian Urodid moth weaves one of the strangest and most beautiful cocoons in the insect world. It is bright orange and uniquely shaped. Normally, cocoons completely enclose the pupa in silk so that the metamorphosis process can be completed. Urodid cocoons, on the other hand, have a coarse, open mesh design with an exit at the bottom. They hang like a pendulum on a long silk thread from the underside of a leaf to protect the pupa against ants entering the cocoon. The mesh-like structure of the cocoon allows rainwater to flush through the cocoon and protects the pupa from drowning.

The atrium in the Swiss Paraplegic Centre symbolises the transition from the Intensive Care Unit to rehabilitation. People with a spinal cord injury undergo a type of metamorphosis, transformation and reinvention of themselves. This requires all their emotional, mental and psychological strength.

Amazonas Schmertterling Motte
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About the metal sculpture: while the object is unique in its filigreed design, it only reveals its secret if it is observed carefully. The following thoughts inspired metal artist Joe Meyer to create this work:

"Go courageously into the unknown ahead of you. Without knowing what awaits you. Be aware that, at all times, you are surrounded by a cloak of security, which provides reassurance that you will be supported during your development. Be inspired by the rare caterpillar that artistically creates its own protection and then, once its transformation is complete, manages to leave its cocoon as a splendid butterfly."

We support people with spinal cord injuries. Throughout their lives.

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