Wrexham woman defies odds to complete triathlon

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

A woman who refused to accept her limitations after being struck with a neurological illness achieved her dream of competing in a triathlon.

Amanda Padley, 47, of Coedpoeth, Wrexham, had just begun training for the Chirk Triathlon when her feet went numb after a training session.

Initally thinking she had just over-exerted herself in the gym, Ms Padley was struggling to walk within days and was admitted to hospital.

After undergoing emergency MRIs and brain scans, a neurologist diagnosed her with myelitis, an illness similar to multiple sclerosis.

The debilitating illness leaves 70 per cent of sufferers disabled while 50 per cent never walk again.

But Ms Padley was determined not to give up and after gruelling and lengthy rehabilitation, received a medal for competing in an all-abilities ‘Superhero Triathlon’.

She said: “I had spinal damage and an uncertain future so I thought my triathlon dream was over.

“I was able to access specialist physio at the Neuro Therapy Centre in Saltney. So began my long rehab journey and when I got out of hospital I could barely walk so I swam, then cycled. I was able to walk with sticks but not run.

“Then I heard about the Superhero Tri which is the first all abilities triathlon held at Dorney Lake [in Buckinghamshire].

“You can run, walk or wheelchair the distance which meant I could take part. I was so excited to be able to participate, I did a 400m swim in the lake, 10k bike ride and 2.5k walk, which I managed without my walking sticks – and I got a medal.

“I have had wonderful support and have raised money for the Neuro-therapy centre.

“Many people seem to have been really encouraged that you can have a disability and do a triathlon. I refused to except limitations and if I can do it, then so can anyone whatever their ability.”

At the event, Paralympians joined aspiring sports men and women for a triathlon.

The Superhero Series saw celebrity team captains taking part in a triathlon with teammates from around the UK who had won a competition.

Paralympic champions taking part included Jonnie Peacock, Kadeena Cox, David Weir and Georgina Hermitage.

Myelitis involves the infection or the inflammation of the white matter or gray matter of the spinal cord which is a
part of the central nervous system that acts as a bridge between the brain and the rest of the body.

During an inflammatory response in the spinal cord, the myelin and axon may be damaged causing symptoms such as paralysis and sensory loss.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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