Paralyzed Woman Saves Baby Magpie, But Sweet Magpie Helps Her Rediscover Life


Sam Bloom remembers returning to her home for the first time as a paraplegic. Her husband and three boys were thrilled to have her home, but to Bloom, coming home seemed more like a death sentence.

In 2013, Bloom was vacationing with her family in Thailand when she fell head-first from an unsecured railing onto the hard concrete below.

She broke her back, sustained severe head injuries, and was diagnosed as a complete paraplegic.

“After the accident, I wasn’t the same mom,” Bloom said. “I used to be really happy and kinda easygoing and super active.”

After lunch @samjbloom

A post shared by Penguin Bloom (@penguinthemagpie) on

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“And then when I came home, I was like, the total opposite,” Bloom said. Bloom found herself slipping into an all-consuming depression, struggling to process the overwhelming anger, frustration, and hopelessness as she grieved her old life and hated her new one.

Her husband, Cameron Bloom and their three sons, Rueben, Oli, and Noah watched the woman they loved begin to slip away. And then one day, the Bloom family found an unexpected gift — a baby magpie.

“Our family was kind of falling apart,” Cameron Bloom said. “And then, Penguin arrived.”

Weak and frail, the magpie looked like she was on her deathbed. The Bloom family took her in and nursed her back to health, a team effort that began to unite the fractured family.

Slowly but surely, laughter returned to the Bloom home. Bloom found herself able to vent her emotions to the bird, and as time went on, she found herself smiling again.

In 2014, Bloom started kayaking. She’d long been a beach runner and a surfer, and being back out on the water gave her a renewed zest for life.

As Penguin grew, she found her own zest for life, gaining independence and finding adventure outdoors. She had always been free to come and go as she pleased, and in 2015, flew away for the last time.

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It was though Penguin knew that Bloom had found herself again — it was OK to leave now. Bloom has since turned her focus to adaptive surfing, and serves as an ambassador and advocate for spinal cord injury research.

“Oh I loved her,” Bloom said of her feathery angel named Penguin. “I absolutely adored her.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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