New Baby, New Injury: Christina’s Story

Life with a baby is always a challenge. Add a 2 year old to the mix, and it becomes even more difficult. Throw in a life-changing spinal cord injury, and things get a lot more complicated. That’s exactly what happened to Christina Passarella.

In 2003, Christina and her husband were juggling a 2 year old daughter and 15 month old son — both bundles of joy, but a handful for sure. Then one day in June, Christina was in a serious car accident. She survived, but not without injury — she sustained a T6 complete spinal cord injury.

After a time in drug induced coma in acute care, she came to Magee for her rehab. In addition to traditional therapies, her clinicians worked with her to prep her for caring for her small children when she returned home. She practiced with a whole lot of diapers!

Christina & her family

Christina & her family

When she got home, things were a lot different — but not for long. Immediately after leaving Magee, she trained for and got her driver’s license. She had some help with the little ones in the beginning, but within a year, she was back to being on her own. What’s her advice to getting back so quickly?

“Try to do everything yourself,” she said. “You’ll learn how to make things work by doing. Everything will fall into place.”

Today, her children are 13 and 11, and active in baseball and basketball. Christina is at all the games. And she always will be, wheelchair or no wheelchair.

“I even wheel myself onto the field sometimes,” she said. “No matter where they go, I’ll be there.”

If you are a former patient and would like to share your story, email believe@Magee editor Kim Shrack at kshrack@mageerehab.org. We would love to hear from you!

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