Living the Dream

Living the American Dream
Doug Champa and Lori Donaldson aren’t letting spinal cord injuries slow their family life down. For two people who met at a wheelchair trade show six years ago, and for their amazed families, it’s a pretty remarkable reality to consider.
Doug and Lori both suffered severe spinal-cord injuries in single-car auto accidents – he in 1986, she in 1994. In each case, there was a devastating inkling that “normal” lifestyles and dreams had been lost for good.
Lori continued to raise her daughter after her accident and even adopted another child, Samantha, at the age of 3.
At this point, their girls don’t give the wheelchairs a second blink. Megan, who lives part time with her father, was not yet 2 when she emerged unhurt from the accident that claimed her mother’s mobility. Neither daughter can remember Lori without a wheelchair.
After living together for several years, Doug and Lori decided to get married. The idea scared them a little at first. But the more they thought about it, the more sense it made. The fact that both adults were in wheelchairs simply meant they all had to be more careful.
And they’ve proven it can work. It’s just real life, with soccer games and swim practice, messy pets and too many errands, beautiful kids who don’t always behave beautifully, great days and aggravating days.
Real life. Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough and stubborn enough to bend the fairy tale, real life is what it looks like.