Video title: Refusing to be seen as disabled
Video duration: 4:32
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Harper: Hi, my name is Harper, I’m 10 years old, I’ve been in a wheelchair for two and a half years now.
Harper lives in Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland with her mum and dad and her five siblings.
Harper: I remember I was with my aunty … I was by the stairs, and I did a backbend using momentum from the stairs so that I could like, flip over … and then I remember my aunty carrying me into the car and then we rushed to hospital and they put these needles in my arms and … I was in a helicopter, my mum picked me up.
Doctors diagnosed Harper with a serious spinal cord injury. At seven years old, she was paralysed from the waist down.
Harper: I was not used to having my legs so skinny. Like they were really skinny. I couldn’t feel them at all. They like… whenever I went like this they just flopped down like collapse on the floor.
To build core strength, Harper works with Lauren at EPIC FIT.
Harper: The training I do with Lauren is based on my upper body, and it just strengthens my stomach muscles which makes me balance more so I can go like this instead of like, have to push me up I can just do it by myself. Like I’ve been getting a lot more improvement with doing Lauren with Epic Fit and I’ve got a little bit more range in my hips.
Harper doesn’t see herself as disabled. She’s just a regular 10 year-old kid.
Harper: ‘Cause, I don’t know what disabled is. Nothing … in my language is … disabled. Umm [pause 10 sec] [sniffs, sighs and begins to cry (bravely)] sometimes … I feel like I’m the only one in a wheelchair in this world, but … I realise that other people have tough life… tougher lives than I do, so, but when people say disabled I just kinda … think that they say nothing, because I don’t like to hear that word.
[Harper playing piano]
Harper’s determined to prove she’s not disabled.
Harper: I did a two years test about … I dunno three months ago, and I have got a little bit more feeling back in my legs, but I was originally umm … paraplegic from here and downwards, so it’s gone to T 10 to 11 so down here, which is pretty good for me it’s a bit accomplishment. I think if I keep doing what I’m doing, I will eventually start to walk again.
In the meantime, Harper’s getting on with doing what she loves, like performing with inclusive dance group Touch Compass.
I feel free, I feel… I think I just like experience umm being myself and just … moving. And like we all have our little solo bit in it. Last time I had mine with Jayden and Lucy, we did like wheelies and that, it was really fun.
[Music playing outro]
Last updated on Tuesday, 7 December 2021