Everybody's going to win
||"Empower people with disabilities" Allana told an enthralled EDGE audience.
"I don't care what I have to live with, in terms of injury or disability, just give me one more chance."
This was the prayer the then - 23 year old pilot Allana Corbin uttered, in the hours following a plane crash that killed 4 other passengers.
Trapped, bleeding, in the wreckage, Allana thought she would die.
But the Allana Corbin story is one of never giving up. A harrowing tale of hope, guts and inspiration. And Allana Corbin was a very special guest speaker at a lunch, hosted by EDGE, to mark International Day of Disability.
Ironically, the flight Allana was on that day, was intended to be a mercy mission. It was three days before Christmas in 1990 .She and a group of fellow pilots were trying to find another plane that had ditched in dense forrest. Then their plane also went down.
"From the moment the engine failed, we had three minutes to impact." Allana told the EDGE audience. "It was like the biggest bang you'd ever heard."
Trapped in the debris, unable to feel her legs, for Allana, the terror brought a new clarity.
"What was truly important to me was crystal clear not a house, a car or how much money I earned. All that was important to me was people," she said.
Allana Corbin made a pact with herself that if she survived, her life would be different. Better.
And it's a pact she's honoured.
Left an "incomplete paraplegic" after the crash, experts told Allana she'd never walk again. Doctors even sent a social worker to treat her for denial, because she refused to accept the diagnosis.
"I was amazed, I was being packed up and put on a shelf and told "that's it, you're not going to make a contribution now."
"I had an enormous challenge."
What the experts had failed to take into consideration, was Allana's determination.
The rehabilitation was gruelling, slow and painful. She found the experience of living in a wheelchair "humbling". Still, a steely resolve shone through.
"Twelve months to the day, I got out of my wheelchair."
The doctors who'd told her she certainly couldn't pilot an aircraft any more, were again proven wrong when Allana took up flying again this time, helicopters.
She says she realised the fear of flying she'd developed since the smash, was holding her back.
"My fear was paralysing me more than any disability could."
Getting back in the sky, under the tutelage of a gruff (but handsome!) instructor helped that fear dissolve. Allana says she realised that flying isn't something that I do, it's part of who I am." It lead to another important milestone.
"I looked through the record books and I realised no one had ever circumnavigated Australia solo in a helicopter."
Of course . . . you guessed it . . . in 1997, Allana Corbin became the first woman to do just that.
Like the plot of a movie, she also married the instructor, they established a successful business - a rescue service, based in Tasmania. It's now the biggest in Australia.
Allana - also told she'd probably never have children - once again proved the doctors wrong - giving birth to twin daughters, both pretty, blonde and determined - just like their amazing mum.
She now has a second successful business, giving motivational speeches across the country. Allana says the whole community benefits when we break down the barriers of what we THINK people with disability can achieve.