For most people, losing their lower legs and most of their fingers would seem like the end of the world.
But for former Perth schoolgirl Eliza Ault-Connell, it opened up a world that she never would have imagined, including of elite sport.
Although she would do anything to change the devastating events in 1997, when as a 16-year-old she nearly died from meningococcal disease, she tries to look at the positives.
Despite having her legs amputated below the knee and losing the fingers on her left hand, the now 32-year-old is grateful she survived, found love with husband Kieran, and is the proud mother of two daughters and a son. Along the way, known then as Eliza Stankovic, she won accolades and medals at the Paralympics and Commonwealth Games in wheelchair track racing.
At the weekend she was back in Perth - where she lived in the 1980s - as part of her awareness campaign on meningococcal disease.
A guest speaker at the Amanda Young Foundation's annual charity ball on Saturday, Ms Ault-Connell said she was surprised by how many people had little understanding of the deadly bacterial infection.
She says being aware of symptoms and acting quickly is key to survival.
For information on meningococcal, go to amandayoungfoundation.org.au