The First Quadriplegic To Fly Solo Around Australia Sends Us Inspiring Words About Living With A Disability

"Your disability does not define who you are."

Last week, we covered the moving story of Dave Jacka, an Australian man who lost 94 percent of his body function from a devastating motorbike accident. Despite this tragedy, Jacka went on to become the first quadriplegic to fly solo around Australia, among other accomplishments.

Recently, Jacka shared with us some uplifting words for those living with a disability.

"Your Disability Does Not Define Who You Are Or What You Can Achieve."

"The best piece of advice I could give is that your disability does not define who you are or what you can achieve. Just because you may not be able to do something the way you did previously does not mean you can't do it.  Open your mind up to other possibilities, think outside the square, and give it a go.  If it doesn't work try a different way.  But don't give up until you are satisfied you have done your best," Jacka told A+ in an email.

Sharing Stories Makes For Rewarding Experiences.

"I received very positive feedback from the general community and people with disabilities.  But the most rewarding part for me is the possibility that I may have sown a seed in someone's mind to have a go at their own passions irrespective of their own challenges or changed the perceptions of how others view people with disabilities," Jacka said in the email.

Face Your Challenges.

"Although I may be in a wheelchair I don't see myself as having a disability.  I just have a few different challenges to what most people in the world have," Jacka continued.

Ask Yourself: Why Am I Doing This?

"If I'm feeling unmotivated or discouraged trying to achieve a goal, I take a step back and ask myself why am I doing this?  It is so easy to lose sight of the big picture even for a brief period.  By doing this it will either reaffirm that its aligned with the reason why you wanted to do it in the first place, which provides motivation to keep pushing ahead, or it may make you realize that it isn't in line with your original motivation or maybe your reasons or purpose has changed," Jacka told us. "This isn't bad, its just part of the process.  It will allow you to readjust and bring it back in line with what you want, i.e. your motivation."

Finding Support Is Very Important.

"Support is also very important.  For me chatting to someone that supports me apart from being very therapeutic allowing me to have a whinge can provide a different perspective to refocus your mindset," Jacka said.

Jacka recommends the Australian Quadriplegic Association of Victoria, a non-profit that helps people with spinal cord injuries live their lives. 

There are also ways to find support in other countries. For example, the United Spinal Association was founded by "a determined group of paralyzed WWII veterans in New York City," advocating "for greater civil rights and independence for themselves and their fellow veterans," according to United Spinal's site. They also provide various support groups throughout the United States.

If All Else Fails...Have Fun.

"If all else fails, forget about your goal, get out and have some fun, then come back to it when you feel a little more refreshed and refocussed," Jacka concluded.

Read Jacka's full story on our site here.