real life

Sam Bloom: "I was grieving for me. The old me who died.”

Sam Bloom doesn’t like being called an inspiration. In fact, she hates it. But to many people, that’s what she is. The 43-year-old mother of three has survived an horrendous, life-changing accident. And not just survived, but thrived.

In 2013, Sam and her husband Cameron Bloom, along with their three young sons Rueben, Noah and Oliver were on holidaying in Thailand. It was their first day, so the young family decided to walk to a rooftop patio to check out their surroundings. It was here that the rail Sam had been leaning on collapsed, causing her to fall six metres to the ground, landing on the tiles below.

Listen to Mia Freedman talking about the accident, here: 

Cameron can’t really remember what happened after that moment. But after reaching her and rolling Sam onto her side into the recovery position, he knew her back was broken. Sam was paralysed from the chest down.

Speaking to Mia Freedman on the latest episode of No Filter, Sam revealed how her parenting changed after the accident.

“At the beginning I felt like the world’s worst mum, because I couldn’t do anything with them. I wasn’t happy. I felt like I was grumpy, miserable, sad.

“I was grieving for me. The old me, which died.”

Looking back now, it was clear to Sam that she had depression in those early months.

“I was never happy. Never laughing. I felt bad because I couldn’t take them anywhere... I couldn’t do anything with them. And they’d go -- ‘dad’ ‘dad’ ‘dad’, and I felt like I wasn’t part of the family, for a long time.”


Listen to the full interview with Cameron and Sam here:

“I remember one thing that made me feel so bad, especially when you weren’t there [Cameron], I was like, ‘Oh could someone get the wheelchair.’ And I’d hear them say, ‘Oh you help mum, I just helped her’.

“Everyone did everything for me. I just felt like... a blob. And there’s nothing inspiring about that.”

But all that started to change when Sam took up kayaking and a little magpie called Penguin fell from the sky and became a part of the Bloom family.

And slowly Sam came back.

A photo posted by Sam Bloom (@samjbloom) on Jul 3, 2015 at 2:38pm PDT


"I got into [kayaking] because I couldn't think of anything else I could do. You know I would say I can't surf, and I can't mountain bike.. .and you know, the list went on. And then I thought, 'Oh, maybe I could kayak'.

"I could just paddle off on my own and not have someone next to me. It was freedom."

Another saviour was Penguin, the now famous magpie, who has his own Instagram and a book.

“Helping something else makes you feel heaps better,” Cameron said.

And finally, the family had a project that wasn't Sam.

Penguin Bloom. Image via @penguinthemagpie Instagram. Photographed by Cameron Bloom.


Three years on, and Sam almost made it to the Olympics, and Cameron has just released a book about how Penguin the Magpie saved their family.

Things are looking up. And that's a good thing.

Find out more about the book Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive here. Or find it at any good bookseller. 

Sam and Cameron Bloom: