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Angela MacDonald
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My name is Angela MacDonald.  I live in New Cumberland and I am a fifth grade teacher at Hillside Elementary.  I have been teaching for 23 years and have been at Hillside for 10 years.  I love my job and look forward to working with my students each day.


On July 11, 2009, my boyfriend of two years and I were returning from a motorcycle outing with friends.  A severe thunderstorm hit as we began to make our way home.  He lost control of the motorcycle while trying to stop under an overpass for cover.  I was thrown backward off the bike and tumbled about 100 feet.  I believe I hit the guardrail.  Luckily, I was wearing a full-face helmet that I believe saved my life.


Unfortunately, I suffered a T4-T5 burst fracture of my spine, which severed my spinal cord, causing paralysis from the chest down.  After 11 days in Hershey Medical Center I entered Penn State HMC rehab where I remained until September 5, 2009.


At the time of the accident, my boyfriend and I were building our dream house.  We had spent months and months drawing up plans, picking out furnishings, carpet, granite…the whole nine yards.  Luckily, we were able to modify the house to make it accessible for me.  We moved in November 5, 2009.  It soon became evident that our relationship was not going to withstand the injury.  Bluntly put, having a girlfriend in a wheelchair did not allow him to do what he wanted to do in life.


I moved out of the house in October of 2010 right after I went back to teaching full time.  I started construction on a new handicapped accessible home and moved in April 1, 2011.  My home is a place of peace and happiness for me.  I love sharing it with friends and family and I am thankful that it is accessible to everyone!


Although I still have some bad moments, they blow in like a hurricane then blow out just as quickly.  I try to stay thankful for the mobility I have, but not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could turn back the clock and do things differently that day.  I miss my old life with a passion, but I have to stay focused on the NOW.  I can make a huge impact on other people, especially my students, by trying to be positive and passing on the message that all things are possible if you have faith and work hard.


On June 18, 2011, I had a wonderful opportunity to take part in the Life Rolls On Foundation’s “They Will Surf Again” program.  It was held at Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.  For thirty fantastic minutes, I was able to enjoy the ocean and catch some awesome waves on a surfboard.  I am looking forward to doing this again next year!!  I also hope to take advantage of their “They Will Ski Again” program this winter.  I also want to learn to scuba dive!!!  I love to be active and I am usually up for anything!