Twelve years after a serious accident left her paralyzed from the chest down, Cherise Griffin says she has plenty to be thankful for.
Back in 2001, Griffin was driving to Winnipeg with her 20-month-old daughter when she lost control of her car and skidded into a ditch.
Six months pregnant and not wearing a seat belt, she sustained serious injuries to her spinal cord.
Her young daughter and unborn child were both unharmed — something Griffin says she is thankful for every day.
“Having kids, I couldn’t focus on myself. I had to move forward for them,” she said.
“I didn’t want them to look at me like I was disabled, and I didn’t want to use that as an excuse to not take care of my kids and be a mother to them.”
In an interview with Information Radio's Marcy Markusa, the Teulon, Man., mother shared how she has moved past the accident and adjusted to a new way of living.
“I had my dark days for sure,” said Griffin. “You have to focus on the positive, not the negative, or it’ll eat you up."
Griffin now works as a real estate agent and town councillor in her hometown of Teulon.
She said as a single mother, she's used to juggling a lot of responsibilities.
“I’m busy,” Griffin laughed. “You just do what you gotta do — I didn’t want the disability to affect my kids.”
Before the accident, Griffin said living without the use of her legs would have been hard to imagine.
But while her life hasn’t turned out exactly as she had expected, she said she finds no shortage of things to celebrate.
“I’m thankful for my family, my friends, and just … being alive.”