B is for Amanda Boxtel: Growing From Pivotal Moments In Our Lives

In February 1992 Amanda had a skiing accident that broke her back in four places. Accepting the reality of the situation, but still full of hope, she focused on shaping her future. She explains:

It’s not what happens to you, but how you embrace the changes that take place, and who you become.

Amanda talks about ‘pivotal moments’ in life. The way we choose to respond to these moments can shape our future lives.

She is now deeply committed to the Bridging Bionics Foundation and is focusing on how to fuse human biology with technology.

Amanda believes that regenerative medicine and bionic technology must travel in parallel paths toward a common goal: that is, restoring full mobility for anyone who is paralysed.

In 1995, Amanda co-founded Challenge Aspen, a successful non profit organisation, which enables individuals with disabilities to participate in recreational activities.

She has also become the first paraplegic woman in the world to test pilot Ekso (formerly eLEGS), a leading edge robotic walking suit. Manufactured by Ekso Bionics (formerly Berkeley Bionics), it is an exoskeleton that enables wheel­chair users to stand and walk.

Amanda is an inspirational speaker. She backs this up with doing work that enables people to live enriching lives.


For ten years she has taught for Aspen Skiing Company as a professional ski instructor. In 1999 she was the Colorado Ski Country USA Adaptive Athlete of the Year.

During the same year she orchestrated the first disability white water rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. In 2002 she carried the Olympic Torch on her mono-ski.

In 2002 she assisted with research in Antarctica on tourism for disabilities. From 2001-2005 she helped establish adaptive skiing programs in Chile, Argentina and Iceland.

In September of 2005 she spearheaded bringing 200 wheelchairs to the poorest of the poor in Argentina. She was the recipient of the Harold Grinspoon Humanism Award for 2005.

Below are excerpts from her blogs and videos. You can discover more via the following links.




More From Amanda

My name is Amanda Boxtel. Mine is a universal story of hope and healing.

After eighteen years of paralysis and a journey across continents, my pursuit is one of spirit-mind-body transformation.

While my spinal cord injury took away my ability to walk, it didn’t take away my ability to dream.

Today I’m turning my dreams into my reality one baby step at a time. Enter my world viewed from the perspective of my wheelchair.

Acceptance and hope must coexist: the interplay of “accepting what is” and “hope” for what could be.

What will bring me the best quality of life and one step closer to walking? Pioneering unchartered territory of being injected with Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Delhi, India?

Exploring revolutionary robotic exoskeleton technology to help rewire my brain? Receiving intensive physical therapy through innovative anti-gravity Alter-G treadmill device?

A disciplined meditation and yoga practice? Visiting a shamanic healer? Or a combination of all of these practices?

I begin to wonder if a positive attitude, belief, or simply blind faith alone could bring about transformative healing and a better quality of life.

My story is about my hopes, dreams, curiosity and indomitable will to pursue treatments around the world in order to gain a better quality of life while striving to walk again.

My journey documents a fascinating exploration of capabilities I didn’t even know I had, changing the way I think about how mutable my body sense is, and how my conscious mind can transform my feeling body on a cellular level.

I challenge you to seize this moment right now and ponder with me this one simple but profound question posed by Mary Oliver, “What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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1 comment to B is for Amanda Boxtel: Growing From Pivotal Moments In Our Lives

  • Larry Fogel

    My son was shot . DOA and revived I the emergency room. He is now 33 . Spent almost a year in the hospital approximately two years ago. He is a c6c7 incomplete . Lots of therapy. Core in Altamonte Springs Fl. As well Stay n Step Tampa Fl. He has a winning attitude. He has stood with help for minutes at a time. He can swim our entire pool with overhand strokes. In addition to swimming under water. I am a disabled veteran . My wife a retired RN with Leukemia.
    Your story is amazing. We need help and advice. He will need a nerve transplant for his hands. He is getting feeling at times. Often in his legs , feet and back. He can bend his upper body.
    Nothing other then walking on his own is our goal.
    Seeing you and others walking with the help of an exoskeleton.Makes us believe that somehow we can make this reality happen for Our son Michael. Please reach out to us. We need your input.

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