I’m Skylar and I recently had the privilege of hanging out with Christy for the first time in about 5 years. Wow, it really doesn’t seem like it’s been that long! Christy and I are taking an Air Force class together for about a month, so it’s been awesome catching up. A LOT has changed since we last saw each other, so there has been plenty of catching up to do.
Christy and I met back at the Academy in 2008. I still remember one of the first nights we hung out because it was one of the best nights I had while at the Academy! Smash Mouth (yes, THE Smash Mouth…you know, “Hey now, you’re an all-star…) played a concert at the Academy that was a ton of fun, but the night ended with me losing a balance-board competition to Christy. After that, being the competitive person I am, I spent hours on the balance board trying to beat her. From there, we developed a close friendship that continued through pilot training in Del Rio, Texas. Unfortunately, after pilot training we ended up on different career paths and, though we still stayed in touch over the phone from time-to-time, we didn’t see each other again for almost 5 years! (I did continue practicing the balance board though because I hate losing!)
When I heard about Christy’s accident, I was shocked. My first reaction was, “How could this happen?” To be honest, I couldn’t imagine how crushed my life would be if I had to go through something like that. I guess in my mind, I imagined it would be very difficult to ever be able to live that same active lifestyle you’re used to after suffering such a serious injury. I pictured it taking years to get to the point of being comfortable walking upstairs, or attempting to run. That’s why I was so amazed when I saw Christy again.
I walked into the lobby of the school we were checking into, and I saw a girl out of the corner of my eye who I swore was Christy. She was wearing jeans and waiting in line to check in, and obviously it wasn’t Christy. Christy just lost her leg 9 months ago, so this girl checking in couldn’t be Christy…could it? Not only was it Christy, but it was the same Christy I knew from 5 years ago! This wasn’t the Christy that I expected to see. The Christy I imagined was still going through rehab and trying to grasp the life-changing ordeal she’d been adapting to for only 9 months.
After the surprise of seeing each other, we were right back to 5 years ago. It really didn’t feel like that much time had passed since we last saw each other. We were immediately joking with each other and I was amazed that she hadn’t changed at all. She was still funny, adventurous, and always really optimistic. When she was wearing jeans, nobody could even tell that she had a prosthetic leg. I was so impressed with her that I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from telling everyone in the room that I was basically talking to a superhero.
A LOT had changed since we’d last seen each other. We’d both been qualified in different aircraft, we’d both deployed, I had met an amazing woman who I married; there were huge life changes to talk about! And, of course, we talked about the changes since the accident.
This brings me to what I really want people to know about Christy. She’s an inspiration to everyone, but it’s not “because of” or “in spite of” her injury. She doesn’t just show amputees that they can do anything that anybody else can do. Truthfully, she doesn’t do the same things that anybody else does. She does MORE; way more than anybody I know. She shows EVERYONE how much a person can accomplish. Missing a leg doesn’t slow her down at all; I can’t keep up with her in the 5 weeks we’ve been in Alabama. She’s running, paddle-boarding, doing yoga, working on her own non-profit organization that she started, writing papers, going to concerts, putting on a fundraiser for children in Haiti, and writing a speech to give to over 650 Air Force Officers. I’m not sure when she sleeps! The drive that she has is unparalleled. Christy really is a superhero.
Oh, and she’s a really good person too, but we all knew that already.
These pictures are from the fundraiser 1.0 mile run we did for One Leg Up on Life one evening of our training