Me Too: Chris Rivera

Triangle Thunder team photo

My story began in May of 2000, when my life was forever changed and I had to adapt to life as a paraplegic. But I was so active before. I played basketball, football, went skiing and white water rafting several times, I loved swimming. Now I can’t do those activities, so my confidence was at an all-time low. This was my state of mind at the time, and the fact that I was a fairly private person didn’t help at all with the pain I was going through psychologically. When asked how I was doing I would always say “I’m fine” even though I was far from it. I stayed away from people for a while as I tried to process my future and imagine what it might look like. I didn’t like what I saw. So instead I looked back at activities I enjoyed doing before my injury, and basketball was high on that list.  I was introduced to the Wake Wheelers, now Triangle Thunder, basketball team. The more we hung out on and off the court the closer we became as a team and more importantly as friends. We shared experiences with each other, no matter how embarrassing. Nothing was out of bounds so to speak, I had questions and I needed answers. We had an open dialogue pertaining to physical, medical, or even relationship issues. Being able to see others with disabilities in happy healthy relationships was encouraging for me. There are few scarier things in life than the fear of being alone. This is where I found guidance and support because they get it.

“Me too” is a statement that many people in our community don’t hear as often as they need to. It’s the idea that whatever it is your going through you are NOT alone. Someone else can relate to issues you face in your daily life. It’s about understanding, it’s about support, it’s about community, it’s about inclusivity. These stories can change the way you look at your life. I know it can because it worked for Me Too.