Lizzie’s story: Getting back in the saddle
6 September 2016
Lizzie was out cycling with her partner four years ago when she was involved in a collision. She had a successful job and an active lifestyle – the accident changed everything.
Lizzie was very proactive during her rehabilitation at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital, setting herself lots of goals to achieve. But soon after leaving, the reality of her situation hit. She couldn’t go home because her house wasn’t suitable. She moved into temporary housing, but felt out of place as most of the residents were much older.
When Lizzie went on holiday to Llanelli with her family, she couldn’t get on to the beach with her wheelchair. All the things that had seemed so simple before the accident were now so much harder.
‘‘We went to the seaside and I wasn’t able to get on the beach, it was a big, big reminder of how disabled I was.’’
She also struggled with people’s perceptions of her and her wheelchair:
‘‘The first time I went to a party was difficult. I felt like everyone was just staring at me. I wished the ground would swallow me up’’
Lizzie’s decision to go on Back Up’s Exmoor multi activity course was a real game changer. Before the course, she had been focusing on all the things she couldn’t do but the course opened her up to all the things she still could do. She had always loved sport and had the opportunity to go out in a kayak.
‘‘This was a big moment for me. I felt so liberated being in the kayak and out of the wheelchair’’
After the course, Lizzie tried out lots of sports and different challenges. She even went along to Sports Fest in 2013 and met Alasdair Donaldson from British Triathlon. He invited her to take part in a Talent ID day in the Paratriathlon event and – to her surprise – she was selected for the GB Paratriathlon Talent Squad. She hasn’t looked back since and is now ranked 2nd in the world in Paratriathlon in the PT1 women’s class and was recently selected as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme.
Lizzie’s mum still remembers meeting her for the first time after the Back Up course in Exmoor:
‘‘When we went to pick her up she was glowing. We were talking about it the other day and Lizzie said ‘That was the start of me realising I’ve got a life’. ’’
Do you want to attend our multi activity course after reading Lizzie’s story? Get in touch with Andy (email@example.com) for more information