Inner strength, a positive attitude and focus on helping others defines Chris Layne, Ms. Wheelchair Colorado 2020. Layne recently visited The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) to share her story of persevering after a fall left her paralyzed.
Layne, who is connected to one of BRC’s residents, was in Virginia earlier in June. She and her son, Austin, made an “epic” 5,650-mile journey through 15 states. They visited family and friends, making new friends along the way. Layne’s goal was to bring awareness about living with a disability and traveling as a wheelchair user.
The resident’s parents requested permission for Layne to speak on campus with teens and employees. She shared her story of changes, challenges and triumphs with paralysis.
On October 28, 2016, Layne decided to spend the day with Austin and several of his friends. They planned to celebrate his 17th birthday with a rock-climbing adventure. Early on the hike, Layne slipped and fell 80 feet to the bottom of a canyon. The fall shattered her T7 vertebrae, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down.
“A tragic accident did change my life forever. However, it has not stopped me from doing the things I love to do,” she shared in an article for her local recreation center magazine. “We all have tragedies, but it’s how you deal with it is how you will get through it. Stay positive!”
As a motivational speaker Layne shares her inspirational message with many young people, especially now as Ms. Wheelchair Colorado. This is part of the nonprofit Ms. Wheelchair America program that recognizes the accomplishments of women who use wheelchairs for mobility.
Besides her role as Ms. Wheelchair Colorado, Layne is a certified radiology nurse. She serves as a peer mentor at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver where she spent months after the accident. She’s also a board member for Home Builders Foundation that helps provide free home modifications for people with disabilities.
Hear Layne talk about her journey of healing from the accident in this February 2020 news story.