Upon stepping into the competitive swimming realm, Darda Sales discovered her lane, but she didn’t confine herself to just that one path.
Unafraid of setbacks, she perceives life as a continuous learning journey. Navigating the intricacies of motherhood as an above-knee amputee, she extended her roles to encompass researcher, coach, classifier, and advocate for athletes with disabilities, particularly within the realm of swimming, through her involvement with Swim Ontario.
In life, challenges and difficult times are universal occurrences, regardless of whether one has a disability.
Darda’s philosophy centers around embracing such experiences and deriving lessons from them. She emphasizes that failing at endeavors is acceptable, especially as an adult, as long as one learns from those moments.
The key lies in the process of learning, as failing to do so marks the true form of failure. This perspective is one she imparts to her children and the athletes she coaches. Every situation presents an opportunity for growth, and that, she notes with a chuckle, is where the bounce comes into play – she humorously labels herself a professional bouncer in this sense.
Darda underlines the significance of connecting with the amputee community and gleaning insights from those who share similar life experiences.
While medical professionals offer crucial support, individuals who have lived through comparable situations provide unique day-to-day wisdom that can greatly ease one’s journey. These individuals possess an empathetic understanding of the ups and downs, the struggles of wearing a prosthesis on certain days – a relatability that fosters learning to lead life more effectively.
She underscores the importance of seeking strength from fellow amputees, considering that despite the vast expanse of the Internet, not all answers lie within it. Thus, learning from those who intimately understand the journey becomes invaluable.
Darda extends her advice to all amputees, emphasizing the validation of having challenging days. She recognizes the tendency within the disability community to project an unwaveringly positive façade to avoid being labeled as complainer.
The aspiration to be seen as functionally capable can often lead to suppressing complaints. However, she advocates for the reality of acknowledging difficult moments. Connecting with individuals who empathize becomes pivotal in these instances.
When someone can genuinely say, “I’ve been there, but better days are ahead,” it carries weight because they’ve walked that path and truthfully understand the potential for improvement.