In times like these when the world needs heroes and heroines, comes along Dorothy Gachie. 12 years ago, Gachie became a paraplegic after being hit by a matatu in a hit and run accident along Thika road. She was crossing the busy road at around 5:30 am heading home from the graveyard shift of her waitress job. Read her story of pain, devastation and triumph – as she shared on her twitter. Join us in supporting the 12 Years A Warrior campaign, #12YearsAWarrior, whereby Gachie wheels herself a distance of 131 kms, from her home in Embu in central Kenya to the capital Nairobi.
This article is part of our ongoing series Morans that celebrates black and African heroes and heroines through tributes, telling their stories verbatim and via opinion; and highlighting their causes, ideals and selfless sacrifices for the greater good of humanity.
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Hello, Twitter! I’m not really a bigwig here. And have roughly 10 followers. But I hope the power of my story, my past, my triumph and my testimony will override my little presence on this mighty app. Hear me out, please. I’m a paraplegic. For 12 solid years. And it’s been rough.
My name is Dorothy Wanjiru Gachie. On July 18, 2008, I was a young waitress in her early twenties. I was working at Roasters Inn, along Thika Road. I was on night shift on this particular day. I had just finished my night shift and was leaving for home. And then my life changed.
If you understand night shifts, you know how crazy they get. It’s tiring, you get exhausted, you’re sleepy, your head is light, feet are tired and you’re a mess by the end of the shift. I was like that. And I was crossing Thika Road to catch a matatu to town and then to Kinoo.
It was 5.30am. And and I was streaking across the road, holding tightly to my purse and feeling the weight of my feet, a lone matatu came speeding down the road, driver didn’t see me, didn’t bother to stop and, like a flash of light, he rammed into me and I saw total darkness.
I was flung high up in the air and ended up falling meters away, right in the middle of the tarmac, face first, my spinal cord had been broken, my mouth/nose were bleeding, I watched my blood flow down the road, my feet went numb, hands were bloodily bruised. Matatu drove away.
Next thing I knew, I was at Nairobi West Hospital. Stayed at the ICU for weeks. And at the Wards for months. By this time, it was all clear to me: I had totally lost my ability to walk. And would be confined to a wheelchair for life. I was gutted. And I wanted death. Immediately.
Was transferred to KNH where I stayed for endless months. At Ward 6D. It was now clearer to me: I had not just lost my job, but my ability to walk, my lower senses, my nerves, my hopes n dreams. At KNH, I cried more than I healed. I was in a horror film. And I was the main lead.
And then my life as a paraplegic began: The extent of my injuries was put at Thoracic 4, which basically means that 75% of my entire body was now paralysed. Forever. I was reduced to a wheelchair-bound human. And my new life began. A life I have tearfully braved for 12 years.
It’s a life of pain, of tears, daily financial expenses, extreme depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, anger, trepidation, fear, sorrow, loneliness and darkness. A life in a bubble of pain and hope. A life of nightmarish flashbacks. A life of daily, bitter medicines
For 12 years, I have swallowed endless medicines for neuropathic pain, amitriptylines, duloxetines, everything. I have gone for limb surgeries and had metal fixations inserted in my thighs. Its a life we have to endure. And that’s why I am doing this campaign. For people like me.
I have battled it all: depression, suicidal thoughts, tears, mental anguish, as has millions of paraplegic like me, and we wake up each day to face a new demon, maybe medical, financial or mental. You even get tired of asking for help. It drains your energy. And eats your soul.
I am therefore wheeling myself from Embu to Nairobi to raise Ksh.2M for people like me. For a new wheelchair for myself and my paraplegic people. For medicines, surgeries, catheterizations, foot pumps, therapy and more. And I intend to cover a distance of 130 kilometres.
I was inspired by Tony Hudgell, the 5-y/old British boy who used his prosthetic legs to walk for 10 kilometres and raised Ksh.100 million for the hsptl that saved his life. July is #DisabilityPrideMonth. And it also happens to be my birthday month. Perfect month for ths campaign.
I’ll make several stopovers. And rest whenever I can. I’ve already kicked off the journey and I can’t wait for what is ahead of me. Kenyans, please wheel along with me. DONATE WHATEVER you can to my M-CHANGA #12YearsAWarrior Campaign. It’s the perfect birthday present for me.
Help me raise the funds for my own motorized Wheelchair and 50 other regular ones for Kenya’s Paraplegic Community.♿🙏🏿
Wheeling journey to Nairobi has began. Please check poster for details. Thank you so much.🙏🏿😇
ACCOUNT : 41617
Follow Dorothy Gachie 12 Years A Warrior campaign on twitter