Karim Ladki’s Spinal Cord Injury Opens Several Doors For Opportunity And An Adrenaline Rush

Editor’s Note:  No one goes through life without problems. However, living life isn’t about the problems you have, but rather what you can do to solve those problems. Once you look around and see the difficulties other people are facing, you’ll recognize that the things you’re dealing with aren’t nearly as important or as tough as problems other people have. But another key part of having a great life is seeing and learning how others have dealt with their physical challenges, overcame them and used those challenges for the betterment of mankind. This is the story of Karim Ladki of Vancouver, Canada, the founder and owner of 9Lives Adventures, Inc., who has decided to give everyone the adventures they seek, regardless of their physical concerns. Part 1 of a 5-part series.

Karim has always been an avid thrill seeker and adventure traveler.

Karim has always been an avid thrill seeker and adventure traveler.

Some friends and I came up with the name 9Lives Adventures after listening to all of my friends and relatives say, “Karim, you could have killed yourself or been injured for life after you dove into that shallow water. You must have nine lives!” And to me, the term nine lives relates to people who have overcome problems and have come back, who have pushed the limits and continued to push the limits of what they can do.

I was once told in the hospital, “Karim, you’ve used up your nine lives!” But I was able to prove them wrong. And that’s what we want the people who come on adventure trips with us to be able to prove–that their lives aren’t over because they have physical challenges.

9Lives Adventures is the only adrenaline driven tourism company that focuses on creating carefree activities for people with physical challenges. It started from a dream I had when I broke my neck in 2007. I had a C7 vertebrae fracture and I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and off my feet for a couple of months. Luckily I had a full recovery.

When I met another person who had the same injury as me and would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, then I realized how lucky I was to be able to walk. I asked the man in the wheelchair, “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” He smiled and said, “I want to try to do things I’ve never done before but always have wanted to do. I want to skydive, bungee jump, white water raft, and participate in other adventures.”

After talking to this man, I began to change my attitude about life. I decided I wanted to create a program for people like my friend in the wheelchair who had the attitude that, “I don’t want a wheelchair to define me and what I can do. I want to try things that get my adrenaline pumping.” That’s when the idea came to me of creating activities to open doors for people with disabilities. I  investigated ways to help physically challenged individuals become more active, restore excitement to their life and give them that adrenaline rush that so many of us want.

My accident happened when I was on a cruise ship. I dove into shallow water, but I didn’t remember anything that happened until I awoke in the hospital with tubes in my neck. In the hospital, I went through depression and thought I was losing some of the person I’d become. I learned later that for all the negativity that I first experienced when I had my injury, so many positive things had evolved.

From my experience, I learned how fragile life really was, and how lucky we all were to have it. I learned that people who experienced severe injuries, birth defects and/or other medical challenges tended to be more aware and more conscious of how precious life was than able bodied people were.

The 9Lives crew wants to help you sink your claws into the outdoors!

The 9Lives crew wants to help you sink your claws into the outdoors!

I had a titanium cage inserted in my neck. I was in the hospital for three weeks, bedridden and in rehab for three months. After that, I regained full use of my body. Two years following my accident, I worked in the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, and worked part-time with the Paralympic Games. That’s where I saw paralympians in wheelchairs performing awesome feats of strength and endurance while demonstrating tremendous athletic skills.

From those athletes, I learned what was possible for individuals with physical challenges, and how perception of the physically challenged and what they could do had changed so drastically over the last few years.

After that experience at the Winter Olympics, I wondered, “If these wheelchair athletes can accomplish amazing feats of strength, endurance and courage, what can they and others with physical challenges possibly accomplish? Can they fly through the air like a BASE jumper and jump from fixed objects while wearing a packed parachute? Can they skydive or bungee jump? Can they white water raft? Can they ride all terrain vehicles to the tops of mountains?” I decided they could if I helped to make these adventures possible.

See how 9Lives Adventures began:

The best way to get in touch with us is through the 9Lives Adventures, Inc.’s webpage. Please feel free to contact Karim as well.

Next: Karim Ladki’s 9Lives Adventures Offers High Adventure Activities for Everyone

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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