Imagine the following.
You have a dream to become someone in the world of show jumping.
It is all going well so far, you’ve become a four-star equestrian eventer; the highest status possible when you enter the well renowned Oseberton Horse riding trials in Nottinghamshire at the age of twenty-eight.
During the trial, something goes wrong, your horse throws you and you land awkwardly.
You are unable to move.
You are taken to hospital and it turns out, you’ve broken your neck, your back, your ribs, punctured a lung and have pneumonia. You’ve also had a tracheotomy to help you breath.
Your dream is over.
You are paralysed from the chest down.
You could be excused for thinking your life is pretty much over too.
At this time if someone said to you, “In five years time you will accomplish achievements beyond your wildest dreams.”
You probably wouldn’t believe them would you?
Nobody said this to Claire Lomas.
In 2007 she was paralysed from the chest down all she had in front of her was a life of uncertainty.
When you’ve previously been a high level competing sports person, how do you go through life with a body that doesn’t work from the chest down?
Everything you thought you knew is now worthless. You have to completely start again, if indeed you want to.
Whilst at the spinal unit at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield medical staff predicted Claire would need a hospital stay of six months.
She discharged herself after eight weeks.
Five years later, Claire, still paralysed from the chest down, decided she’d like to take part in the London marathon to raise money for Spinal Research.
Her aim was to raise £50,000.
Claire started on the same day as the other 36,000 runners on 22nd April 2012.
She managed to walk, in what’s been described as, a £43,000 “bionic” suit, designed by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer.
I don’t like the description, “bionic” as I think it detracts from what Claire achieved.
Because lets face it, this “bionic” suit is not the only thing that helped Claire take part in the marathon, by far the most important ingredient in this challenge was her will.
No matter how painful the task Claire was never going to lie down and accept that her condition was going to stop her doing anything.
I have no doubt Claire Lomas would have been a world class eventer if this tragic accident hadn’t have happened, she has it in her.
You can’t beat someone with her determination to win.
The race officials disappeared at the end of the first day as did the road cones marking out the official route and all the spectators.
Claire knew she would not appear in the official results or qualify to receive a medal when she finished, as competitors have to finish the course on the same day to qualify for a medal, but it didn’t put her off.
Every evening Claire, along with her loyal supporters, including husband, Dan, her parents and her 13-month-old daughter, Maisie, marked the spot where she’d finished, went to a local hotel, slept, got up the next morning and started again exactly where they’d left off.
The last few days of her challenge the story started to gain media attention.
By the time Claire had a mile to go, thousands of supporters turned out to cheer her on, a guard of honour from three mounted members of the Household Cavalry walked by her side and a number of celebrities also lent their support by walking a mile alongside her.
Claire needn’t worry about receiving a medal either as a number of marathon runners offered to donate their own medals to her.
Holly Branson, daughter of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, whose company supports the marathon, was also on hand to present Lomas with the Virgin trophy, handed out annually to men and women who went that extra mile and challenged themselves beyond normal human limitations.
Covering a maximum of two miles a day it took her 80,000 gruelling pain-filled steps and 16 days complete the 26.2-mile marathon course.
Claire has now raised more than £140,000 for Spinal Research, 283% more than her original target and achieved a feat beyond her wildest dreams.
You know that saying, “Something good always comes out of something bad”?
It has never been more true than in this case.
Who would’ve thought so much positivity could come out of something so bad?
Life is hard and sometimes you need people like Claire to help you through it.
Claire is a person of inspiration.
If ever you have a bit of bad luck or something doesn’t turn out like you thought it would, think of Claire’s achievement.
Claire said, “There were times when I questioned whether I would make it when I was training.
Once I started, I just took each day as it came and every step got me a step closer.
My life now is better in so many ways than before my accident because I have Dan and Maisie.
To walk again one day would just be a bonus.”
To find out what makes Claire happy click HERE