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INTERVIEW: Carly Taylor - wife, jewellery designer + campaigner

Five years ago, Carly Taylor fell from a wall causing her to break her neck and suffer a C4 incomplete spinal cord injury. Now 27 years old, Carly is married to her husband Nelly, has set up her own jewellery business called Olive May and has travelled to Miami for a month this February to take part in a research study with The Miami Project, which aims to cure paralysis. 

Tell us about yourself

I’m 27 years old and I live in a quaint seaside village in Cornwall. I love sports and fashion. I use to enjoy surfing, swimming and playing netball. I’m still active by going to my gym 5 days a week and I have my own jewellery company called Olive May. I’ve been paralysed for 5 years after breaking my neck from falling off a wall. I write blogs about my journey with a spinal cord injury to spread awareness and help others. I’m now married to my husband called Nelly, who supports me in my fight to get better.

How did you end up with a C4 incomplete injury?

On the 5th November 2011, I was waiting for my dad to pick me up after a meal with my friends. After having some alcoholic drinks I sat on a low wall in a car park. After closing my eyes for a few moments, I lost balance and fell 15 ft into a rocky tidal river, which unlucky for me the tide was out resulting in breaking my neck and back. I try and find a positive from my accident and one’s still being alive. I’m paralysed from the shoulders done with a C4 incomplete spinal cord injury.

What challenges did you face early on after your injury?

Being told that I was never going to walk again let alone move my arms was a huge thing to digest. Being determined, I wanted to prove the medical doctors wrong and I started physio and exercise straight away, I’ve gone from tiny flickers in my arms to having arm movement. I struggled with losing the independence I once had to now relying on carers to do everything for me. Also being in a wheelchair was a massive issue as I struggled to come to terms with the new me. I couldn’t see past the metal frame, I now think positively and remind myself this is me now and not necessarily always going to be me.

What has helped motivate you since your injury?

Having the support from my friends and family has kept me fighting. There are many amazing charities out there that are focusing on finding a cure for paralysis it’s incredibly positive. Also keeping active and healthy is a key factor, not only do I feel happy and good after exercise, I want my body to be ready when a cure is found.

Tell us more about your trip to Miami? The research you are going to be part of sounds fascinating!

I’ve been in America for a month taking part in a research study with The Miami Project to cure paralysis. The study is a brain-machine interface, which was 16 laboratory visits to determine the ideal characteristics for a neuroprosthetic device that could potentially restore arm and hand movement. Being out in Miami was extremely positive and inspiring and I’m looking forward to working with The Miami Project again in the future.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?

To keep exercising and improving, 5 years may have gone by but I’ve achieved so much and I’m determined to carry on achieving my goal. I hope to help others who are in similar situations. I also want to create a beautiful and happy future with Nelly!

What advice would you give to a young person with a spinal cord injury?

Never give up, when you are at your darkest point remember your worst days, only have 24 hours. There’s life after a spinal cord injury, finding it might be hard sometimes but just keep dreaming big and always live a good story.

Thank you Carly for talking to us about your spinal cord injury, life since the accident and plans for the future. We wish you good luck with your jewellery business and for the future. Read more about Carly’s story on her blog here, and her jewellery site here