Just one year ago, Darbi Aitchison didn’t think she’d ever walk 10 kilometres. One year ago, she wasn’t sure if she’d ever walk at all.
“I’ve talked to doctors that dealt with me way back in the day and no one ever expected me to walk on my own again,” she said, moments after finishing the TC 10K, walking side-by-side with her mother, friends and brothers.
The UVic student and soccer player was hospitalized in March 2015, paralyzed by Guillan-Barre syndrome, unable to move her arms or legs, or even talk. She could only blink, and needed a ventilator to breath.
Months of intensive physiotherapy followed.
Along the way, Victoria General Hospital ICU nurses helped fundraise to let her see a FIFA Womens World Cup game in Vancouver.
Then in October, Aitchison was able to stand with the help of crutches and walk out of the hospital on her own, with her mother Debbie at her side then as she was Sunday, when Darbi crossed the finish line, with just walking poles to aid her, at 2 hours and 17 minutes
“I’m really happy, really excited that I acutally completed it and didn’t just say I was and never actually go through with it, so really ecstatic,” she said.
“It’s hard to realize the distance we’ve come from a year ago, from where we were, and we’ll just keep on going,” said Debbie Aitchison. “We’re moving in the right direction.”
That direction now includes a fresh focus on finishing school, regaining her drivers license and getting a job.
Today, after all the distance she’s come, Aitchison is 10 kilometres closer to reaching all of her goals.