Jude’s story: Walking after spinal cord injury

Every spinal cord injury is as unique as the person who sustains it, and some injured individuals can walk.

Jude sustained her spinal cord injury in 2019. A lifelong equestrian, she was bucked off while riding and damaged her spinal cord at the C3 level. Jude’s injury is incomplete, meaning that her spinal cord was not fully severed. The impact of this was still devastating. While in rehab for two months, Jude found herself struggling.

“Mentally, I was nowhere. I was petrified about the future and what would happen. It was all too overwhelming, and I struggled with anxiety spells.

“I was not in a good place, but then I found Back Up.”

While in hospital, Jude felt like the services on offer were tailored more towards wheelchair users than people who can walk. She says she slipped through the net when it came to rehab. Jude desperately wanted to talk to someone else who had been through what she was experiencing, so she reached out to the Back Up team. We paired her up with a mentor, who helped her understand more about her spinal cord injury.

“Back Up put me in touch with a mentor who could walk as well. Just like me she also had a horse riding accident, but she had lived with her injury for ten years.

“Talking to my mentor was a game changer. She showed me that I could get through the early days, and taught me practical tips for living well.”

Jude’s mentor helped her discover things she could do each day to help her live life to the full. In Jude’s case, she discovered the importance of taking care of her muscle tone. Her mentor shared tips for practising yoga and breathing exercises, which has helped keep her centred and mindful. Aside from the practical advice, Jude said that the best part of having a Back Up mentor was speaking to someone who understands.

“The last two years have been a learning curve, but I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m doing what I love and enjoying my life again.”

With this newfound confidence, Jude has set herself a personal challenge. She is aiming to climb Scafel Pike. Jude is doing this as a personal challenge but she is also using it as an opportunity to raise funds for Back Up, since our services showed her what was possible after spinal cord injury.

“I’m going up there for myself, as a personal challenge. It’s a ten-mile hike altogether, so being able to climb that high and keep going all day truly shows how far I’ve come.

“A lot of my friends are sponsoring my hike so I can raise funds for Back Up. I want to give something back, because the charity has given so much to me.”

You can learn more about Jude’s challenge here.

Do you think you would benefit from talking to a mentor? Get in touch with our team and we will help you with family mentoring after spinal cord injury.