Claire Lomas’ life was turned upside down on 6th May 2007 when she became paralysed from the chest down in a horse riding accident. Having been a chiropractor and top-level event rider, the accident left her unable to do the things she loved, and although Claire was determined from the start to make the best out of the situation there were plenty of days she struggled to even find the motivation to get out of bed. Claire has since gone on to meet and marry her husband, Dan, and has had two daughters, Maisie and Chloe, as well as setting up a business and raising more than £600,000 pounds to help find a cure for paralysis, most recently by completing the Great South Run in her bionic rewalk suit.
“…The training for my challenges is always tough but on the challenge each step gets me a step closer…”
Rebuilding my life after becoming paralysed in a riding accident
I was paralysed from the chest down in a horse riding accident ten years ago. It totally changed everything but since then I have had to rebuild my life. I have done things I never thought would be possible but the biggest challenge was battling on through the dark days. I also felt lucky to have use of my arms so I wanted to help find a cure for paralysis, so I started fundraising.
Today I am busy with two young daughters but my time is split between being a mum, my career as a motivational speaker, fundraising, challenges and sport.
Walking marathons with my rewalk suit
My rewalk suit was made in Israel and enables me to walk by tilting my pelvis for each step. It is physically and mentally challenging though, especially as I have no sensation from the chest down so can’t feel the ground beneath me.
The training for my challenges is always tough but on the challenge each step gets me a step closer. It is hard when you feel tired and you are only a couple of miles in but I just think lamppost to lamppost rather than the whole course.
Don’t give up – you can make your own luck
My advice to anyone facing adversity is that it takes time, so don’t give up. Take all the opportunities you can as you never know what it will lead to – you can make your own luck. Focusing on the positives of my situation was a vital part of moving on. I had to focus on what I am able to do rather than what I can’t do.
Being a role model for my daughters, Maisie and Chloe has made me aware of what some people have to deal with and appreciate what I have. It is important to be grateful for what we have. Not many days go by when I am not grateful for the use of my arms after seeing so many people with neck injuries. If you have got it then use it!
Right now, I am making plans for 2018. I am organising a half marathon, 10k and 5k runs, which are taking place in Leicestershire in June. I will also possibly do another event myself. I got my motorbike race licence in July and would love to do a motorbike challenge in 2018. Womanthology readers can follow my progress at Claireschallenge.co.uk.