Paraplegic former jockey, Anne Von Rosen
, is writing her
"I'm determined to fight and not give up," she
said from her
apartment in Phoenix, Ariz. "Doctors never flat out told me I'd be paralyzed the rest of my life, but I accepted it to some degree.
On March 11, 2014, Von Rosen
finished second aboard Quarter Horse Panchita Bonita at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.
"I don't remember the race," she
For Von Rosen
, determination seems built in. Intelligent and personable, she
is also known as a hard worker and independent.
worked on a breeding farm in her
native Germany before moving to Italy, France and England, where she
exercised horses at several major tracks.
She gained a job as a vet tech at prestigious Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., became an assistant trainer, and then decided to become a jockey, first riding at bush tracks in South Dakota in 2001.
As a seasoned veteran, she
raced chiefly at Turf Paradise and Canterbury Downs, riding 5,000 races and winning a respectable 666.
, now 43, soon moved to Denver's Craig Hospital
, renowned for helping those with severe spinal cord injuries.
refused counseling along with anti-depressants.
"I didn't like it there," she
After two weeks, Von Rosen
moved back to her
home and family in Germany where she
underwent rehabilitation at a facility in Frankfurt while her
father treated her
with everything from reflexology, raindrop therapy (aromatherapy and massage with essential oils), and electroacupuncture - a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles.
Last September, she
spent six weeks at Dr. Osvaldo Font's Pain Clinic in San Juan, Puerto Rico, receiving controversial electroneuromedular treatments.
Long acupuncture needles are inserted deep inside the spinal cord, then connected to an electrical stimulus strong enough to cause sharp pain in previously unfeeling extremities.
Several Latin and South American doctors perform this treatment, and claim that in some cases, it restores nerve connections inside injured spinal cord tissue.
The practice is not yet approved in the U.S.
"The needle goes in deep," said Von Rosen
For Von Rosen
and other former jockeys now paraplegic, this new birth is often painful.
There are high risks for developing dangerous urinary tract infections and pressure sores from sitting so much.
And there are catheters to deal with, something Von Rosen
said means getting up in the middle of the night to empty the catch bag.
For Von Rosen
, life has been reduced to dealing with her
injury and healing from it.
gets up at 9:00 a.m., when various friends show up to help her
get into the Swiss-made exercise machine her
father purchased to help build her
spends hours on it each day.
Three days a week, she
goes out for physical therapy.
does standing exercises in a special frame at least a half-hour twice a day.
also hooks up her
Acuscope, a device reported to have pain management properties.
recently took time off to attend a day held in her
honor at Turf Paradise, something she
said was rewarding; most rewarding because she
stood in leg braces for the world to see.
voice turns cheery when she
talks about the Doug O' Neill-trained Get Back Anne
, who raced at Santa Anita
, and a thoroughbred weanling named Running for Anne.
does not feel forgotten.
Ten months after her
injury, friends still show up at her
apartment to help in many ways.
does not yet have a hand controlled auto, they take her
to physical therapy, help her
shop, and assist with dishes and laundry.
For Von Rosen
and others like her
, that delicate balance between hope and despair, lament and positive affirmation, giving in and going on is daily fare.
currently resides at the intersection of perspiration and aspiration.
Despite the daily battle, frustration and sometimes sadness, Von Rosen
is not about to give up.
Encouraging words are helpful, she
Active on Facebook
relishes chats, post comments, and especially prayers.
● The inaugural Courage Award was presented to disabled riders, Anne Von Rosen
and Michael Straight.