There are two types of people on this planet: the inspired, of which there are many and the the people who inspire, whose numbers are few.
Claire Lomas, undoubtedly, inhabits the second category.
At the age of 27, in May 2007, Claire was taking part in the Osberton Horse Trials, when her horse, Rolled Oats, clipped his shoulder on a tree.
Claire was thrown forward and smashed into the tree, fracturing her neck, back and ribs, and damaging her spinal cord.
She suffered a punctured lung and needed a tracheotomy to help her breathe.
Surgeons put titanium rods in her back to try to fix her spine but couldn’t repair the damage.
After 10 days in intensive care, she was told by doctors it was highly unlikely she’d ever walk again.
“I remember lying on the ground, unable to feel my legs, thinking, ‘this is really, really bad’.”
“When the specialist told me I’d be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I remember thinking: ‘You don’t know who you’re dealing with”.
“I knew, somehow, I’d walk again.”
Five years later, she completed the London marathon.
As she made her way along the last few hundred yards, towards the finish line, she was watched and cheered on by thousands.
Among the people urging Claire on was Tim Henman, Olympic rower Sir Matthew Pinsent, TV presenter Gaby Roslin, adventurer Ben Fogle and three mounted members of the Household Cavalry, riding in an unofficial guard of honour.
I remember watching it myself and being moved to tears.
Claire started the marathon at the same time as everyone else but because she didn’t finish on the same day (it took her 16 days) it meant she didn’t officially qualify for a London marathon medal.
This prompted 14 people to come forward and donate their own medals to her.
Claire took part in the London marathon to raise money and awareness for spinal injuries.
Her sponsorship money totalled £210,000 and her achievement in completing the 26.2 mile course, was covered by media worldwide.
Not one to sit around, in 2013 Claire went on a, mammoth, 400 mile hand-cycle ride around the UK, visiting schools and talking to children en-route. At the finish on 13 May, she had raised over £85,000.
I was inspired to write a previous blog about Claire’s achievements, which you can read HERE but I’d really like to thank her for agreeing to take part in this blog.
Here are a few things that make Claire happy…
What’s the last thing that made you smile / laugh / happy?
My daughter, Maisie, constantly saying funny things!
What’s your favourite book?
Katie Piper’s autobiography because I think she is remarkable.
What are you grateful for today?
What’s your favourite film?
Bridget Jones – makes me laugh each time.
What’s you favourite little pleasure?
A spa break to have some chill time!
What’s your favourite TV show?
Darren Brown – he is awesome
Which person inspired you or which person do you think is inspiring?
Matt Hampson (injured playing rugby) and Katie Piper, they both have fantastic attitudes.
What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life and why?
I couldn’t name one event. Birth of Maisie, the London Marathon and lighting paralympic cauldron are 3 of many!
Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?
My horse riding accident in 2007, leaving me paralysed from chest down.
Once I started to start to think and find new things to do, I gradually started to live life again, then going on the have my greatest days after the accident.
If you’d like to see what Claire’s up to now, or in the future, this is here website: http://www.get-claire-walking.co.uk/
And this is Claire’s Twitter account.