Judith, Hampshire

Judith and her dog, Buster

I had a cavernoma in my spinal cord at T8 (8th Thoracic Vertebra). It first made itself known in 1987 it must have bled back then and over the course of one week I went from a healthy 23 year old on fresher’s week at Portsmouth Polytechnic to paralysed from the waist down in hospital. At the time I was miss-diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. I gradually recovered from that episode but it left me with a limp and generally weaker from the waist down, and a buzzing sensation in my left leg. Over the years I started to deteriorate when in 2008 I was sent for an MRI scan. That was when the cavernoma was discovered. They said I was born with it. I was told that taking it out was an option. If it was left alone it could bleed again and cause more damage. In September 2009 I had the operation at Wessex Neurological Centre. The cavernoma was removed but unfortunately the operation left me more physically impaired than before. I can’t walk unaided, I use a wheelchair most times when I’m out, I can’t feel my left leg although it’s the strong one and I don’t know where my right leg is unless I’m looking at it. I’m still keeping fit though, I use a cross trainer, I have to tie my right foot to it. I turned my attention to the world of parasport and I am an active member of the City of Portsmouth Athletics Club where I take part in seated throwing events and the newly created Wheelchair Racing Club. I started to volunteer at Mary Rose Academy, that’s when I came across the InstructAbility programme and realised it would be an ideal opportunity to embark on a career in fitness and help disabled people at the same time.

Judith and friends

Judith and friends

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