KIRSTEN Moriarty hopes that writing a book about her terrible skydiving accident and remarkable recovery will be a source of encouragement to others through their own dark times.
The Somerset councillor's book, From Dark Days to Blue Skies, describes her 2010 collision with high voltage power lines after a routine skydive.
She suffered full thickness burns to her ankles, thighs and chest and friends and family were initially told that Ms Moriarty would lose her legs and not walk again.
She was in hospital for three months and had 16 operations. Intensive physiotherapy and months of rehabilitation followed in order for Ms Moriarty to regain her strength.
"I am determined and I remember sitting in the hospital bed and the doctors telling me, 'you are not going to lose your legs now, but you will never walk again'," she recalls.
"I remember looking at them and saying, 'of course I am going to be able to walk again; I am going to skydive again'."
Ms Moriarty was true to her word and just over six months after the accident she was skydiving again.
She says writing the book was "an incredibly important part of my recovery".
"I started it as a diary that I kept in hospital to keep track of the operations I had and what was happening to me, because I was on so much medication and painkillers.
"Then it became a real part of the emotional recovery."
The story of Gill Hicks, the Australian woman caught in the London underground bombing, was a big inspiration. Ms Hicks lost both legs and learned to walk again
"I thought if she can do it with no legs, I can certainly do it with legs," Ms Moriarty says.
"I read a lot of those type of stories about real life people and what they had overcome while I was in hospital and I found it incredibly inspirational.
"Once we go through something so awful there is a positive message that we can share with other people...and what gets us through those awful times is something that can help other people go through their own dark times.
"I was always a very positive person before (the accident) happened and I never expected to be tested in such a terrible way. But it was also an incredible opportunity to put those beliefs into practice."
The book is published by Amazon and can be ordered by Australian readers at kirstenmoriarty.com.au It will be launched at Somerset Civic Centre on November 28.
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