Bellingham’s Kirstin Noreen shares her book, “On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at Village Books, 1200 11th St.
Noreen had everything — her own home, an exciting career, fulfilling volunteer work, the enjoyment of bicycle touring. At age 46, in August 2010, she put on her helmet and went for a leisurely bike ride. She woke up a week later on life support, her life forever altered.
An inattentive driver had sent her and her bicycle flying into a ditch on Hannegan Road near Van Wyck Road. An independent professional, she was now totally dependent on others. Medical professionals, family, friends, colleagues, and her cats all played their parts in her recovery. Even her beloved touring bike, which she called Silver, was rebuilt.
“On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed” is the story of her struggle to face her changed life and to rebuild it on her own terms. Noreen picked up the pieces and reassembled them into something new, a bit different, but still her own.
The journey taught her surprising lessons about disability and the hardships we all face. It was not just about physical rehabilitation, but about living in her changed body and building a life that was more than just surviving. Her story speaks of resilience with grace and humor, the will to regain strength and the freedom of movement.
Today, Noreen is bicycle touring again. She works as an environmental permitting technician, as a placement coordinator for a foreign exchange student program, and she makes and sells handmade jewelry. She’s an animal rescue volunteer, and she’s building a tiny house on wheels.