It rains outside when Ebba enters through the hotel doors, her smile though, brightens up the whole lobby. It’s the beginning of September and she just got back from The World Rowing Championships in Switzerland and we manage to catch her before her next flight; on Monday she’s flying again, to Canada.
Name: Ebba Hilma Therese Einarsson
Merits: GOLD - Swedish Rowing Championships (2017), GOLD - Nordic Rowing Championships (2018), participated in The World Rowing Championships (2019). Seen on: Vinnarskallar, 2019. (TV4)
Listens to: The 1974 & Dermot Kennedy.
Reads: The China Study.
Fav. quote: ’You are your first and last audience, do it for you’
One night in August 2017 Ebbas life took a dramatic and unexpected turn, a turn that would change her life forever.
"It was my last summer before graduation and I spent it working at a restaurant in my hometown, Falkenberg. One particular evening I struggled with an unfamiliar pain in my lower back. As always, I thought it was from carrying the heavy tables and I ended up going home, took a painkiller and though I would sleep away the pain."
But Ebba couldn’t fall asleep, and the pain just got worse. At one point she just cried out loud, took her phone and called her dad, who was sleeping on the other side of the house. Together they started calling family, friends, relatives, yeah - pretty much anyone who could help them figure out what was going on with Ebbas back. The hospital became their only option.
"When I got out of the bed my legs couldn’t hold my body upright, and it forced my dad to not only put my clothes on but also carry me to the front seat of his car. And from there everything just happened so fast: hospital, blood test, doctors, more tests, but still - no answers.
"I fell asleep and when I woke up the next morning I couldn’t move my left leg. I couldn’t feel it. It was numb. I was terrified, but I was even more terrified by the thought of losing my right leg too. So, I moved it up and down, up and down, but I quickly got exhausted and fell back into sleep."
When she woke up again, the nightmare continued: her right leg was now gone too.
"You know, that summer was very special. It was the summer I started liking myself and I’d finally made peace with who I was, how I looked - I loved every piece of me and was filled with a whole new confidence, ready to take life by storm. Well, the summer didn’t turn out the way I expected. From confident to extradited, in a day. All of a sudden I needed help with toilet visits, showers, dressing, yeah - basically everything. I was starting all over again, from zero."
What did the doctors tell you at this point?
"Well, they did a spinal cord test and the result showed that a blood vessel had burst and that it was the reason why I was paralyzed overnight. I guess this was the point where my parents understood the gravity of the situation and started to cry endlessly."
How did that make you feel?
"To be honest, it made me angry. It made me feel extremely frustrated and already then, I had to decide if the accident would tear me apart or make me stronger."
It’s been more than two years since the accident and Ebba looks positively to the future. The past years have been a complete rollercoaster filled with both hard times but also life-changing adventures.
"I know that if it wasn't for the accident I would never have experienced the things that I've done. I have been traveling like never before: China, London, The Grand Canaries, and next up is Canada, Florida, Italy and hopefully Tokyo for the Olympic games. I've had the opportunity to be on "Vinnarskallar" (TV4, Sweden), which was a true blessing, and I've also got my apartment renovated by "Sofias Änglar" (Chanel 5, Sweden)."
Do you ever have bad days?
"Of course! I’m only human and there are days when I just want to screw it all, when I feel like hitting something hard and cry. There are days when I ask myself "Why?", "Why did this happen to me?", I think about how unfair everything is and I've come to the conclusion that I will never accept the fact that I won’t walk again. Never."
What you think about, you attract. Right?
"Yes! And I decided there - in the hospital bed - that this accident wouldn’t tear me apart. I understood that every day would be a struggle, but with the right tools and time, I knew I would find new ways of doing things. I promised my self to do my best every single day, and then everything would be fine. I believe that mindset is everything."
If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?
"People’s way of thinking, their attitude towards their ability to make a change. Even the smallest of actions can make a huge difference."
Ebba, you're such an inspiration, thank you so much for sharing a part of your story with us. What's next on your agenda?
"On Monday I’m leaving for Canada. It will be a new chapter in my life and I have never felt this free before. I Will be training with my coach Jill and of course eat a lot of delicious vegan food. I’ve never been there before but I'm certain that I'll enjoy it. I'm excited, to say the least."
Good luck Ebba!
Sep. 2019. VeganHey TALKING 2 Ebba Einarsson.