Monica Quimby was a motivated sophomore in college as a molecular, cellular and developmental biology major when a tragic skiing accident left her paralyzed from the waist down after attempting her 30th back flip. She only missed one semester and was determined to get back to doing what she loved. After the accident she stayed focused on her goals by getting published as an undergraduate for her mitochondrial DNA research in genetics, presenting at multiple conferences, earning multiple degrees and became one of the youngest adjunct professors at Southern Maine Community College at age 23.
She continued in philanthropic efforts, but her focus became personal. After feeling like an outlier, she wanted to bring awareness to the public about people with disabilities with a passion to create change. Some of her platforms were being Ms. Wheelchair Maine 2011, a participant with Maine adaptive, a board member for Alpha One (Maine’s only independent living center) and ambassador for the 2013 Boston Abilities Expo.
Quimby never lost her drive, but she still had one fear. It was time to forgive sports for her paralyzing injury and become an athlete again.
As stated in the first blog post, October 2013 was a leap of faith. She decided to let go of everything she already knew (with some help from Maine Adaptive, family and friends) because it was her time to pursue a passionate goal and get back into competitive sports. She trained this last year in Paracanoe and Sled Hockey, both with unconventional starts. Her drive and hard work was shown by earning a silver medal at the 2014 Lake Placid International Regatta, and a spot on the competitive regional Florida Sled Bandits. I made alternate for the 2014/2015 season and full roster for the 2015/2016 for the Women’s USA Sledge Hockey Team.
Let’s just say, it has been a pretty epic 2 years.