3 July 2019
Recently I encountered someone who gave me such a huge wake-up call I am still reeling from it.
When you read the headlines of a woman walking the London Marathon you acknowledge a remarkable feat. So what about when that woman had to walk it in a robotic suit because she’d been paralysed from the chest down?
Claire Lomas did just that. She walked 1.5km a day in the suit, completing the marathon in 17 days.
It takes an extraordinary character to be able to complete something like that, and knowing a little more about Claire’s story, I now know just what an extraordinary character she is.
Up until 2007, Claire was an event rider, producing and competing horses at an incredibly high level. It was her life and her passion. She dreamt of a huge career in eventing, something she’d been training for from a very young age.
That all changed when she collided with a tree during Horse Trials that year. A simple misunderstanding meant her horse brushed a tree, causing her to hit the tree, falling to the ground. She instantly knew that she was paralysed. She couldn’t feel the ground beneath her. Everything changed.
Describing the recovery and readjustment to a whole new way of life, Claire speaks of the huge achievements like the marathon but also of the tiny opportunities that gave her the confidence and momentum to take on the epic battles.
She describes being unable to feel the temperature of the water running over her in the shower, of seeing her muscles wasting away and of knowing that everything changed. But also of taking up every opportunity – like going out for lunch with friends or getting a part-time job – to switch her focus from all that was lost.
There is something to be said for recognising the opportunities that we encounter every single day. It’s easy to say no if you’re a little tired or disinterested, but what could happen if you said yes? How would your mood, your day or your life change if you took that chance? Claire is living proof of just how important it is to embrace life to the fullest.
I can’t imagine the mental resilience that that takes. That unbelievable strength to accept what has happened and make the most of it.
Claire is the guest on this week’s episode of the Mind Your Own Business podcast, and I know that listening to her speak will shift your perspective on life instantly. It is impossible not to be inspired by this woman.