An inspirational mum say she’s excited to see what new opportunities will come her way in 2017.
Amanda Worne has just enjoyed ‘the best Christmas’ at home with her family - a world away from 12 months before, pulling a cracker on her own in a quiet hospital room.
January 29 marks the first anniversary of the day the Yapton mum-of-four left Stoke Mandeville Hospital in a wheelchair, having spent six months there after being paralysed from the waist down in a freak cycling accident.
Unlike Christmas Day 2015, when she was on her own miles from home and barely able to move having undergone a second massive operation on her spine, this year could hardly have been happier.
Amanda said: “Waking up on Christmas morning with my husband and my four children sitting on my bed, I wanted it to last forever. We had the best Christmas together, it was wonderful.
“Last Christmas I was still in hospital and so poorly after a second big operation on my back.
“I remember wheeling up to get my canteen Christmas dinner and then going back to my room and having to pull a cracker on my own. That’s when I realised what it was like to be on your own at Christmas.
“At the time I didn’t think about it that much, I made the best of the situation as I try to do, but looking back it was horrible.”
Her family drove up to visit her in hospital on Boxing Day and though they ‘made the best of it’, it was nothing like spending the festive period with them at home and looking ahead to 2017 with great optimism.
One of the reasons for her excitement was the best Christmas gift of all - a return of some feeling in parts of her legs and bum below her spinal injury.
Through working with her physiotherapist she’s managed to ‘wake up’ some muscles, and she even saw muscles moving at the top of her legs when she clenched.
“A year and a half after my accident and after an amazing hydro session my backside actually hurt,” Amanda said.
“I’ve even seen little flickers of muscles coming alive down the side of my legs. When I saw that I nearly cried.
“I’m not expecting to ever be able to walk again but to have feeling where I was told I would never have feeling again is just an amazing thing.”
During 2016 Amanda became the ambassador of a charity encouraging disabled people to be more active; completed a tandem sky dive with daughter Meg and a friend on the anniversary of her crash down Bury Hill; got a new puppy which she is training to assist her; went scuba diving and started riding with the RDA and completed a Bognor parkrun.
This year will see her finish a book, which is due to be published in the summer; get a new lightweight wheelchair and hopefully begin work on building a new wet room in her house which will allow her to shower unassisted.
From the moment she posted a first picture of herself on Facebook in a hospital bed, telling friends not to worry that she would never walk again, Amanda’s positivity in dealing with her new life as a disabled person has been both astonishing and inspirational.
She said: “My whole family are now much stronger, we’ve all got to grips with my disability and we’ve all come such a long way since this time last year.
“My injury has opened up so many new opportunities and I’m excited by what will come next.”
She said a huge thanks to the friends who have raised money to give her greater independence at home.
With little Government funding available, Amanda and friends and family are continuing to raise money.
Those who want to help can visit NatWest bank in Chichester and donate to Amanda’s Pink Wheelchair Fund.
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