Cindi Sandvick has spent the last 24 years of her life cutting and styling hair. "I love it. I just love doing hair and talking with people and just like making everyone look good."
In fact it almost seems like Cindi was destined for the hair-do biz. "Ever since I've been a kid, I've loved messing with hair and braiding hair. Anything like that."
And that is how this mother of two has spent her days. Living out her childhood dream -cutting hair. That is until that dream was nearly cut short. "It was May 16th, 2009."
Two years ago Cindi was riding on the back of her husband David's motorcycle, taking part in a ride to raise money for a charity. "Kind of a windy, overcast day. Wasn't really a good day for riding but it was a benefit and a bunch of friends got together so we were going to do this."
Just outside Genoa - their motorcycle hit a patch of gravel and both went down.
Cindi doesn't remember a thing and David wishes he didn't. "Do you have memories of it? Oh yeah. Hard to talk about? I just really don't want to talk about it. Don't want to bring it back up."
The accident left Cindi with a broken back - paralyzed from the chest down. She spent 9 weeks in the hospital. And was told she would likely never walk again. But Cindi had a different plan. "I was actually excited to come home. I don't think it really hit me that I wasn't going to walk or that I won't walk again. Because I truly believe I will walk again. "3982476
Cindi has wasted no time wallowing in self pity. Everyday with David by her side - she pushes herself with exercises and therapy - to hopefully get her legs moving again. "This is where I get a lot of sensation in my legs."
"I don't think people realize there's a lot towards your whole life when you don't have your legs anymore. Just life in general. Not being able to get up for a cup of coffee or going to the bathroom or in the shower, Or just to go outside. Who's going to shut the door behind you? Transfering to the couch. It's definitely a change in life."
But sometimes change is a good thing. After the accident - Cindi met a man in a similar situation who told her she was an inspiration. And that inspired an idea. She left the salon she'd been working at. and took a risk. This last August, with the help of family and friends, Cindi opened the doors to her very own business, appropriatly named - Salon Inspired. "It makes me feel really, really good. This is the best thing I have ever done and it's really helped me along with eveything."
"It's lovely. It's a beautiful place. It's relaxing...you just let her do her work."
Armed with a harness and a specially designed chair, Cindi is able to continue doing what she loves. "They shouldn't be scared of me because I'm as good as I was before - I'm just not standing. That's it. I'm the same person."
"She hasn't let anything stop her. She still is the same person. She hasn't changed because she can't walk. She's still the same person inside and out."
She has come so far in the last two years but for her, it's not nearly far enough. "You just pray every night that there will be a miracle for me and I'll be able to walk around my clients again. My husband says 'it just takes time.' So that's what I need - time."
Cindi is holding an open house at Salon Inspired on Thursday, December first from 4-8 pm. The salon is located on George Street in La Crosse.
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