An Edmonton woman, who is paralyzed from the shoulders down, is proving just how big an impact a positive outlook can have on recovery.

Oksana Izio was a world traveller before getting into a collision in August that changed her life.

“We hit a moose and our car went flying off a 40-foot hill,” Izio said.

“I was rushed to Slave Lake in an ambulance and flown to Edmonton in a Medevac plane and from there I was in a coma.”

When she awoke, doctors told Izio parts of her spine had been injured, leaving her paralyzed.

“They said that I would be a complete quadriplegic which means I would have little to no recovery,” Izio said.

“Going from being kind of a free-spirit to being told I’d never walk again is definitely hard on the heart.”

But Izio isn’t giving up – and says she’s going to prove the doctors wrong.

Izio is currently staying at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, where she’s already regaining some feeling in her body.

“It’s more pins and needles-feeling so far. It’s in my hands and my feet and my legs.

"It’s kind of all over my body, it’s very exciting,” she said.

Izio says her recovery has been made easier with the support of family and friends.

“I felt from the moment I heard about it, I felt from inside me that she was going to be okay,” said Ulana, Izio’s sister.

Ulana has been with Izio every day since the accident, and shares the same positive outlook on life, despite the challenges.

“Nobody decides for you, how your fate is going to be, that’s up to you completely. You can never give up,” Ulana said.

Beginning next month, one of Izio’s University of Alberta professors will be visiting her each week to help complete her last few courses in conservation biology.

Izio’s friend Celeste Comartin is preparing her house for Izio to move in after she’s discharged from the Glenrose at the end of January.

“She’ll be close to everybody, family, friends,” Comartin said. “We get to be roomies.”

The sisters, and Comartin, hope a fundraiser planned for Jan. 12 will help raise money for supplies and equipment like wheelchairs, slings and a hospital-style bed to be placed in Comartin’s home.

They also hope to raise money for further treatment once Izio leaves the Glenrose.

And as the new year approaches, Izio says her goals will be to regain more feeling in her body, make improvements for mobility, and finish her degree.

She also hopes her positive view on life will influence others who may be in a situation where thinking positively may not be the easiest thing.

“Actions follow thought and if you always think negatively you’re going to have negative outcomes,” Izio said.

“People just need to stay positive no matter what your circumstance is and I hope I can be of some influence for other people out there to stay positive.”

Click here for more information on the fundraiser planned for Izio for Jan. 12.

With files from Carmen Leibel