The blink of an eye, a heartbeat, a split second in time.

That’s all it took for Sam Bloom’s life to change forever.

Sam had everything she had always dreamed of. She’d travelled extensively, fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and was a happily married mother of three young boys.

Without warning, the dream turned into a nightmare. 

On a 2013 family holiday in Thailand, Sam leant against a rotten balcony railing falling through it and crashing 6 metres onto the concrete below.

She was lucky to be alive and had suffered devastating injuries, including severe damage to her spinal cord that left her completely paralysed from the chest down.

Broken and hopeless, Sam reached her outer limits of physical and mental suffering. But with courage, determination and a little help from an unlikely feathered friend, she made her way back from the edge, scarred but undefeated.

Her message – we are all stronger, braver and more capable than we realise.

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An unlikely


Once her condition was stable enough, Sam returned to Australia and braved her way through months of intensive rehabilitation. She craved a return to normal life, and was finally able to come home, only to fall into a deep and consuming depression.

Mourning the loss of her old life and no longer able to see purpose in her new one, she slipped further into hopelessness as her family watched on, helpless despite their best efforts. 

A frail, injured little magpie chick became Sam’s unexpected saviour. 

The ongoing

journey to


Penguin, as the boys named her, became Sam’s constant companion and over time she brought life and laughter back into the house where sadness had reigned. 

From this, Sam found a renewed sense of purpose in taking up competitive paracanoeing, placing 13th in the world and winning two Australian titles before representing her country at the 2015 World Championships in Italy.

Today, Sam has reconnected with her love for the ocean and made a return to surfing. In August 2018, Sam was selected as a member of the Australian Adaptive Surf Team and has since won Gold for Australia at both the 2019 and 2020 World Para Surfing Championships.

Penguin Bloom,

the story that’s captured hearts

around the world.

Sam’s husband Cameron, a professional photographer, documented their experience with his images forming the basis for the international bestselling book Penguin Bloom, a collaboration with New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive.

The story has now been transformed into a major film produced by Naomi Watts, with Watts also set to star as Sam.

A second book, Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong shares Sam’s personal perspective on facing and overcoming adversity.

Read Sam's story in her own words Full story

Penguin Bloom

The story that’s captured hearts and minds across Australia and around the world.


Book Sam for your next event. Her inspiring, visual storytelling experiences are like no other.


Sam’s new book Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong launches 2 September 2020.