Passionate Skydiver Returns To Skies For First Time Since Botched Slipped Disc Op Left Her Quadriplegic

A passionate skydiver who was left quadriplegic following an operation has recovered some of her movements and has shown a beaming smile as she skydived once again.

Raquel Zendron, 34, first got into skydiving when she did her first jump with an instructor in the city of Anapolis in the west-central Brazilian state of Goias when she was 19 years old.

It was on her second jump in October 2017 that she met the man she would go on to marry, 33-year-old Jefferson Lages, who she described to Newsflash as “the great love of my life”.

Parachutist Raquel Zendron from Brazil in a photo with her husband Jefferson Lages. (Raquel Zendron/Newsflash)

However, her life turned upside down two years later.

The banker and nutrition graduate told Newsflash: “After experiencing severe pain in mid October 2019 and losing strength in my left arm, it was found I had a slipped disc.

“I needed to undergo surgery in February 2020, and post-op I was left without any movement.

Parachutist Raquel Zendron (center in purple) in a photo surrounded with friends, after the jump in September 2021 in Anapolis, Brazil. (Raquel Zendron/Newsflash)

“At first it was really nerve-racking, as the diagnosis was not good and all my dreams were falling apart overnight. It was supposed to be a simple operation, but when I got out, I couldn’t move anymore. I never imagined this could happen.

“I can’t explain my reaction. I remember thinking crying wasn’t going to solve it. I thought ‘from now on, I will do the best I can to recover’. From then on, I focussed all my strength on what I had and not on what I didn’t have.”

Raquel’s recovery went better than expected, and she regained some movement following several physiotherapy sessions.

Parachutist Raquel Zendron from Brazil during her jump in Anapolis, Brazil in September 2021. (Raquel Zendron/Newsflash)

She told Newsflash: “I’ve seen a considerable improvement in my arm movements, and I’m also able to balance my torso with support.”

Raquel underwent a nerve graft on both arms in February this year, which further improved the movement in her arms.

She told Newsflash: “I was always nurturing my strength, thinking positively, valuing all the good things around me. I feel very privileged because I have a family that supports me unconditionally and a husband who has never allowed me to give up.”

Parachutist Raquel Zendron (center in purple) from Brazil during her jump in Anapolis, Brazil in September 2021. (Raquel Zendron/Newsflash)

Raquel took part in her first jump since the misfortune in Anapolis on Saturday, 28th September.

It was filmed, with Raquel’s unbridled happiness on full display as her husband carried her into the aircraft and she successfully completed the jump with an instructor.

She told Newsflash: “This leap was a fresh start. We intend to continue jumping from time to time, and we will adapt what is necessary to make our dreams come true.

Parachutist Raquel Zendron from Brazil during her jump in Anapolis, Brazil in September 2021 with friends. (Raquel Zendron/Newsflash)

“We continue to go on with life. There are no easy days, but with love and willpower we will make everything brighter and we won’t let ourselves be affected.”

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