published by Dan Joanisse in
June 20, 2024

My Journey with SCI

My name is Dhruv Kapoor, I am 25 years old, and I live with a spinal cord injury. In December 2011, I was skiing with some friends and ended up hitting a tree on an unfamiliar run. I shattered the C5 vertebra in my neck and had a hairline fracture in my C1 vertebra. I don’t remember the point of impact or the lengthy ambulance ride to the Health Sciences Centre, I just remember waking up a few days later in the surgical ICU. I was told that I underwent surgery to fuse together my C4 and C6 vertebrae. I became a quadriplegic and spent 7 months in the hospital trying to recover as much as I could and dealing with my new challenges. Afterwards, I spent 2 years travelling to different places in North America to further my recovery. Thanks to my family and the wonderful people of Winnipeg, I was able to fundraise for my treatment bills. In the end, I was able to use a walker and I no longer had to use my wheelchair while at home.

I was always extremely interested in school and was studying Physical Chemistry at the University of Manitoba prior to the accident. I wanted to be a Materials Scientist. Afterwards, I knew my plans needed to change due to my physical constraints. In summer of 2013, while I was away for treatment, I taught myself some programming. After researching computer science options, evaluating my university credit history, and acquiring funding from the Canadian Paraplegic Association, I joined back at the university in summer of 2014. I was going to study Computer Science and, luckily, my previous credits could be shifted to elective slots. I moved to Vancouver in November of 2014 in order to volunteer full-time at my family’s not-for-profit physiotherapy clinic but continued my education through distance courses and classes at Simon Fraser University. I completed my BSc at the end of 2017 and almost all of my education after my accident was covered through a federal grant for students with permanent disabilities.

I started looking for work as a software engineer in the summer of 2017 so that I could be setup somewhere right out of the gates. I had 8-10 interviews in that span. I never had any issues with the interviewers but I did feel as though I really had to emphasize my knowledge in order to make up for my obvious physical limits (even though I can use a computer perfectly fine). In the end, I had a few opportunities I could pursue and I accepted an offer in Vancouver. I’ve been working full-time since January of 2018 as a software engineer. I go to the office every weekday just as most people do, I have colleagues with whom I rely on (and they on me), and I enjoy tackling the daily problems that I encounter.

I spend my free time reading, watching hockey (Go Jets Go!), and programming small projects. My long-term plan involves returning part-time to university in order to complete my MSc in machine learning and I’m targeting either Fall of 2018 or the beginning of 2019. I’m in the process of choosing the right university. I’m also looking at purchasing a car and have been keeping an eye on a few neighbourhoods that seem a suitable place for me to buy a condominium.