Rougoor has been paralyzed since a motocross accident in 2008
9Lives Adventures helps the disabled live out their extreme sports dreams
The bungee jump provided a few seconds of freedom, Rougoor says
A group of men hoist a woman in a wheelchair over the railing of a bridge in Whistler, British Columbia, and let go.
The woman screams – for joy, as her blue bungee cord stretches and goes taut over an icy river 100 meters below.
She bounces up and down several times, strapped in her wheelchair, her blond hair flying.
“I’m used to sitting upright all the time so the first two seconds sideways really made my stomach turn,” said the woman, Christine Rougoor. “It was amazing!”
Video of Rougoor’s fantastic jump is quickly becoming an Internet sensation.
The 25-year-old from Niagra Falls, Ontario made the amazing plunge last Thursday after winning a charity contest sponsored by an adventure company specializing in helping people with disabilities achieve their extreme sport dreams.
The group 9Lives Adventures was founded by Karim Ladki, who was paralyzed after breaking his neck in an accident but was determined to continue stoking his love for adventure.
The group held a video contest for people with physical disabilities, encouraging them to share their stories. The top three won an all-expenses-paid trip to Whistler to go back-country snowmobiling and bungee jumping.
Ladki has organized similar trips in the past and says it’s perfectly safe.
“I normally tell the first-time jumpers to stay in the chair as it provides a good back support and keeps you upright,” he said. “This also prevents any blood from moving around the body too much, furthermore preventing any lightheadedness or black-outs.”
That was encouragement enough for Rougoor.
“For me, the last thing I wanted to do was get thrown over (and) then black out and not remember it!” she said.
Rougoor won the trip by submitting a video of her shooting guns, riding high-tech bikes for paraplegics, and playing tennis in her wheelchair.
The education student has been in a wheelchair since she broke her spine in a motocross accident while vacationing in Florida in 2008.
Rougoor said in her video submission that she was in a coma for three weeks, but was determined to get her life back on track after she got out of the hospital.
She returned to college and earned a high school teaching license in art and French, but also has been working hard as a fundraiser for people with mobility issues.
The bungee jump was liberating, Rougoor said.
“It was a couple of seconds of freedom from any worries and thoughts.”
So would she encourage other people with disabilities to take the leap?
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said. “The minute I got back, I begged them to push me back over!”