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  • Writer's pictureStefanie Schaffer

Welcome to my website! A little about me...

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

Welcome to my website! Now, let me introduce myself.

If we rewind back in time, to just a few years ago, we’d arrive in the summer of 2018, when myself, my family, and a group of our family friends landed on the Bahamian island of Exuma. The island was enchanting. We felt like we’d stumbled upon some private island, such a well-kept secret that no one seemed to know about. The beaches were empty for miles around us. The restaurants we visited were filled with locals, as if our group of eight people were the only others who’d arrived for a visit.

We spent our days as anyone else would. We sprawled out in the sand and tanned our skin, and swam in the warm ocean water. We kayaked and snorkeled, bewitched by the spectacular underwater views. We barbecued on the grill on the back deck of our beautiful rental home, overlooking the waters just ahead, with the beaches still perfectly empty. I remember thinking how reckless we were, as we ignored all past advice about swimming in the ocean at nighttime, and we floated in the still-warm water with the moon hanging above us. Each day was perfect.

On day four of our vacation, we set out early that morning. See, the entire reason we had chosen Exuma as our vacation destination was because of this one tour that had sparked our interest. We were heading toward Exuma's Swimming Pig Island - a deserted little island inhabited only by large pigs that did, in fact, swim in the ocean waters. It's become a very popular tourist destination. We settled on to our boat, and quickly took off.

Our boat flew forward with a frightening speed, soaring high in the air and slamming down against the water. And then, what was meant to be a half-day tour, came to a sudden end after only minutes. The boat had exploded beneath my seat.

Since that day, I have had somewhere between 40 and 45 surgeries. Most of them major, some of them minor, but all of them challenging. I spent 1 month in a coma, 5 months in hospitals, and will continue to spend years in physical recovery - from bilateral leg amputations, paralysis, and much more.

But the craziest part of this whole story is that somewhere along the way, I stopped regretting that choice to walk aboard that boat. I stopped being angry at the fact that the accident could have and should have been prevented. Because through these challenges, I’ve seen a beautiful life emerge. I’ve seen myself grow into a new version of myself, one who is less afraid, one who values each day, and who makes the most of life. I’ve become someone I couldn’t possibly have been if I hadn’t been challenged all of those times, and for that, I am thankful.

And, I left that island with a story to tell. Which has led me here.

I’ve now completed a personally written memoir - a personal account of every step of this story, every emotion, every failure, and every accomplishment in these first two years - and I can’t wait to share it with you all! It will be available for purchase on this website, so stay tuned, and you can be among the first to know!

I’ve also dedicated myself to public speaking, knowing that these lessons that I’ve learned are so valuable that I can only hope to share them with as many people as possible. Learn more about my speaking in the past and all that is still to come, through this website.

I'll update this Blog section often. This is where I’ll share anything and everything from stories of my adaptive sports, my physical recovery, what I’ve learned, or just interesting thoughts or stories that are worth sharing and spark my interest and desire to write!

But for now, we'll start with just this little introduction.

Thanks for visiting,

Stefanie S.

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