Turning Point - Overcoming Uncertainties!

Updated: Jun 14, 2021


Childhood

Nisha Gupta, was born in Varanasi on 22 March and grew up in Mumbai. During College vacations, I visited my hometown with my parents.


I was a very adventurous and naughty girl, who could never sit still at one place. On 01 May 2004, while trying to pluck mangoes from a tree, I slipped and fell. I sustained a head and spinal cord injury. Nobody was aware of Spinal Cord Injury in my family, and they did not know how to deal with this accident. I had no movement or sensation in my legs. My family and friends began to panic and rushed me to the nearest Hospital, which was more than 2 hours away.


Due to head injury, I was bleeding profusely and needed 4-5 stitches. On arrival at the Hospital, I was told that not only walking was the least of my problems, but also a spinal cord injury, which meant that I no longer would have control of my bowel and bladder movements. This was unimaginable and everyone was dumbfounded at how I will be able to cope with these complications.


The doctor suggested that I undergo a spinal surgery to try and stabilise my spine and spinal cord. My parents were overwhelmed with this and were not able to arrive at a decision. On the recommendation of friends and other doctors, they were told to come to Mumbai for treatment. The 24 -hour long journey to Mumbai took its toll on my health, as I was only on glucose. I was then admitted in Laud hospital at Dadar, on the next day Dr.Sameer Dalve (Neurologist) started my treatment for the spinal injuries, post which I was under observation phase, for 48 hrs. On 06 May 2004, my operation was done.


At this point, only my father knew the severity of my condition, I was still living with the hope that my condition would improve, and I would recover. I was discharged from Hospital on 18 May and began my rehabilitation at the ‘All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’ (AIIPM at Haji Ali, Mumbai). Here, with the help of physiotherapy, I was taught how to sit and stand with callipers.


Almost 3 months passed, but there was no improvement. I, therefore, asked Dr. Anil Gaur about my injury. He said that I would never be able to walk again. It was hard to believe that I would be on a wheelchair for my entire life. I was completely shattered, traumatized, and went into deep depression. I had lost the will to live and had given up. Once I returned home, I seldom left the bed and spent all my time sleeping and watching TV. This went on for 4 years. Dr. Anil Gaur referred me to Nina Foundation; the objective of the Foundation is to spread hope and optimism amongst the spinal cord injured. They encourage its members to live an independent life.


Turning Point

They organized a spinal cord injury awareness program at Welingkar College. As I entered the hall, I was surprised to see many paraplegics and quadriplegics on wheelchairs. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was not the only one. It is here that I met Dr. Ketna Mehta, the founder of Nina Foundation and Ms Sunita Sancheti, a very enthusiastic member and volunteer. Both are also paraplegics.


Dr. Ketna Mehta inspired me a lot. She came back home and shared her experience with my parents. Then I realized that this is my new life which I must accept it and take it as a challenge. Slowly, but surely, I began to work from home. I started with a data entry job, but my dream was to be a Tattoo artist. I shared my feelings with my childhood friend Kavita, who introduced me to a tattoo artist. He came over to my house daily for 3 months to teach me. I was good in drawing, so I learned amazingly fast. This completely changed my life, and I began to follow my passion.


I was now more confident and began participating in several activities and started going out more often with friends and cousins. We visited Malls and Gardens, as most of Mumbai is not wheelchair friendly. I also participated in the Mumbai Marathon and started learning wheelchair dancing, para swimming and para badminton. I even participated in the Miss Wheelchair India 2013 contest.


Her Journey in Sports...


Swimming

In September 2014, I attended swimming competition in Dharavi and got inspired by it. Despite my family members discouraging me to do so, I somehow learnt to swim -thanks to my friend Oliver Dsouza. After learning swimming, I participated at the State and National Para Swimming Competition, where I won many Gold and Silver medals in 2014 and 2015. Thanks to the support from the Nina Foundation, I could travel for competitions.


In December 2015, I participated in the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship held in Delhi and won a bronze medal.


Basketball

In July 2017, I was part of the Indian Wheelchair Basketball team that took part in an international competition at Bali, Indonesia, where we won a bronze medal.


Nisha – As Representative

In Nov 2017, September 2018, and June 2019, I represented Maharashtra in the 4th, 5th and 6th National Wheelchair Basketball Championships, held at Hyderabad, Erode and Mohali respectively. The Maharashtra team won the Gold Medal at Erode. At Mohali also, the Maharashtra team won the Gold Medal and was awarded the Medal by the Union Sports Minister, Shri Kiren Rijiju.


In Aug 2019, after an exceptionally long and hard practice session held at Chennai at the ICF indoor stadium and organized by WBFI, I got selected to represent India for the upcoming AOZ (Asia Oceania Zone) Wheelchair Basketball Championship and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic qualifiers (27 Nov to 08 Dec 2019) at Pattaya, Thailand.


My passion for sports and life has always been extremely high. Today, I am proud to say that I am an independent Indian Paraplegic Girl who believes that I can achieve anything I dream of. I am also fond of acting and modelling.


Key Achievements:

1. Swimming - Zonal Certificate – 2 Gold Medals

2. State swimming - 6 Gold, 4Bronze and 1 Silver Medals

3. National swimming - 3 Bronze Medals

4. Basketball - 1 Bronze and 2 Gold Medals

5. International Basketball - 1 Bronze Medal - 2017

6. International Wheelchair Basketball Federation - Participant in 2019 Pattaya IWBF Asia Oceania Championship

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