If you would have told me in April 2017 that I would be running the 2018 London Marathon, I would have never believed you. This time last year (mid-May 2017), I had just received my first walkable prosthetic leg, following my amputation in late 2016 and started to walk with two crutches. It is with great pride that I am able to say that I have completed a marathon: and here's how I did it:Read More
My preparations for the World Judo Games were somewhat limited due to my difficulties in accessing training. My Judo training sessions had temporarily been put on hold due to my other commitments and training requirements. Nevertheless, I packed my bags and flew off to Amsterdam. With competitors from all over the world, including Brazil, Sweden, Finland and USA, I was incredibly excited.Read More
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS, is a very misunderstood and under-diagnosed condition which causes debilitating pain. Doctors often search for answers through multiple medications and procedures while patients search for relief. Having suffered with CRPS for about 13 years before my amputation, I can promise you that it is not a condition that is to be taken likely. It affects your energy, mood and often leaves people in such a confusion and distressful situation.Read More
Beautiful beaches, fantastic scenery and sunshine galore but how accessible is the Riu Touareg Hotel in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde is a beautiful set of islands to the West of Africa. As an independent, Portuguese speaking country, Boa Vista is the largest of the islands and is home to the Riu Touareg Hotel. The hotel itself has 1151 rooms, an adult only section (which admittedly I did not enter) and a large selection of staff, able to assist or entertain you.Read More
Cabin pressure, security procedures, luggage and simply knowing where you’re going – all standard issues when flying but these are even more difficult when travelling as an amputee. The good news however is that you are able to bypass a lot of queues and get through security quicker, as well as free priority boarding for you and a few of your travel companions.
In the past 2 weeks, I have boarded 3 plane flights, varying from 6 to 10.5 hours. With my international European competitions, I have also encountered very short journeys and have encountered the same issues. I have flown as a full-time wheelchair user and also as a fully ambulant amputee and they each have their own unique access needs.Read More
Another week has passed and I find myself still exploring new sports and enjoying my career as a full-time adaptive athlete.
Finding and discovering a new sport as an amputee can be very daunting but also extremely rewarding. It's difficult to find clubs that are able to cater for your adaptations and confidence is needed to join an able-bodied club but it does host a whole load of benefits.Read More
As many of you know, I am very passionate about inspiring others to achieve their dreams. Last year, I organised for a chap to be pushed around the Tough Mudder course with my Mountain Trike wheelchair and I am pleased to announce that I am looking for more adaptive individuals to inspire. It's my aim to show an adaptive individual round every UK course this year so let's spread the world and inspire others together.Read More
I'm standing in a queue at an event, while waiting to collect my race number, when I notice someone suddenly look down and notice my Blade XT - a very common situation for me. Whereas most British people would talk about the weather or politics, I am asked what it is like to run on a blade. My honest answer to them is generally that I don't know any different and perhaps they would like to explain to me what is like to run on two feet. Having said that, I assume they mean compared to a standard prosthetic leg so I try to explain to them the differences, as below.Read More
As some of you may know, Friday is the start of my career as a full-time professional athlete. In order for me to progress further with my training, I have taken the step to concentrate my efforts on my sports, which will also enable me to motivate and inspire others more- it certainly wasn't a decision that I took lightly.Read More
Failure is okay and all just part of life progression....so why do we beat ourselves up about it? There is a lot of pressure on those with influence to never show failure or any sign of weakness yet ultimately we are all human – we all have those moments of joy and similarly those moments that we would rather not share with others through fear of judgement.
Through my own journey, I try and allow enough time to share my failures, as well as my successes. Through failure, we have evolved from cavemen to those with robotic limbs. After all, a failure is just an opportunity to improve, no?Read More
There's nothing worse than walking across the road, for your foot to suddenly fall off. It has happened to me, as well as hundreds/thousands of amputees and it can be really quite embarrassing. It's really important for a leg to stay attached, as well as being as comfortable as possible while feeling secure with every step.Read More
With the release of the 2018 Tough Mudder obstacles, I can't wait to get out on course and I find myself struggling to sleep with excitement. With 19 Tough Mudders under my belt, I am quite used to whichever obstacle is thrown at me. Having said that, I noticed a remarkable difference in how easier the obstacles were, once I had received my prosthetic leg. Who would have thought that having two legs would make obstacles easier? Hm.....
Here's what I think about the 2018 Tough Mudder obstacles:Read More
Do you ever walk into the gym and feel intimidated by large muscles, foam rollers and fitness buffs? That was me when I first started going to the gym. I was worried about people judging my smaller weights or my ever-improving form. I was too scared to go into the weights area to just experiment with some free weights so I spent my time on the machines, not seeing much progress.
I struggled to stay motivated and I was stuck without 'gains.' I never really wanted to be really muscly but just wanted to lose weight and get stronger. Fortunately for me, I have always been very talented at falsifying confidence so I was able to step into a gym without a problem - it was just the free weight area.Read More
As we have now officially entered 2018, the phrase 'New Year, New Me' comes out. Rarely do we ever hear 'New Year, New Leg' but the reality is that statistics show that approximately 185,000 people (in the US) have a lower limb amputation each year (1).
Although many of those individuals may not be able to use a prosthetic leg, there are thousands of prosthetic legs being manufactured, customised and fitted in 2018. With that in mind, with the help of an amputee forum, I will try and explain how it feels to walk on a prosthetic leg.Read More
We've all seen that one question in the diversity section of a standard questionnaire - "Do you consider yourself to have a disability?" Do I consider myself to have a disability?.........What a strange question to ask an individual. Consider myself.....does that mean that it's my choice to identify as disabled or perhaps are they asking whether you would be labelled as disabled by society?
Perhaps being disabled is a state of mind whereas what how does that change when/if you become more/less disabled? How does that change your identity? What does it mean to be disabled? Does it really have a definition? So many questions are raised and the bridge between the labelling and self-identity of disability is something that I have been recently struggling with and I would love to share my thoughts with you.Read More
People often ask me - 'Why do Judo when you're the only amputee?' or 'Surely it's really unfair that you fight against two-legged people......why do you even bother?'
My quick and easy response to them is 'why not?' Why should I deny myself a sport I love simply because I only have one leg? The truth is that we live in an able-bodied society and a world that is not fully adapted to those with physical differences so why should sport be any different? I'm used to adapting to everyday situations so for me, Judo is just another string to the bow that is life.Read More
On the 27th of November and 4th of December, series two of "Employable Me" will be airing on BBC Two. Until now, I have not been able to say anything but keep your eyes peeled as I am a member of the series!
In January 2017, I responded to an ad looking for participants for the second series of Employable Me, which was aired in 2016. The series explored the difficulties faced by those with disabilities while looking for work and it followed a number of individuals, mostly with neuro-diversity.
Now back for a second series, they wanted to explore a more diverse group of individuals with a range of disabilities. After some initial filming, they decided that I would be a valid member of the series and invited me to go to some employment workshops with experts, to learn vital job-seeking skills. I was introduced to a lovely and talented lady, Nancy Doyle, a neurodiversity and employment specialist.Read More
Being an amputee, surprisingly, comes with quite a few advantages as well as the disadvantages. Although many amputees do not have the opportunity to elect to have their limb removed, there are many out there that do!
My friends and I often laugh about my 'cripple privileges,' which is a phrase that we use between us - I don't tend to use the phrase around others or able-bodied individuals in case they think that it's acceptable to use for others! Regardless, it does mean that I tend to 'get away' with things that my able-bodied peers wouldn't, such as complimentary drinks or an extra scoop of ice cream.....although that might just be because I'm a bit cheeky and tend to ask for extra. You don't ask, you don't get?Read More
We all like to be motivated, inspired and encouraged yet when is this taken too far?
How many times a day do you have to be told 'you're an inspiration' before you find it frustrating and feel that people are being patronising?
One of my main goals is to inspire as many people as possible through my achievements and attitude towards life. Having said that, my friends will often ask me whether I find the comments of others encouraging or patronising - I suppose for me, it really does depend on how I feel on the day and the tone in which the comments are said.Read More