“He posted a selfie on Facebook - that’s how I found out about his injury. I could have killed him!” Hannah was flicking through her phone the day she found out her cousin Ben had sustained a spinal cord injury. He posted a photo of him in hospital just after he had been given morphine for the pain. Hannah says: “He was a semi-professional cyclist and was competing in a race when he fell off his bike in a freak accident. He was paralysed from the rib down but because of the morphine he didn’t think it was anything serious.”

Up to a month after the accident the doctors thought that the paralysis would only be temporary because of the amount of swelling around his spine. “We all thought that he would be able to walk again but when he was moved to Stoke Mandeville Spinal Centre the harsh reality was that he wasn’t going to walk again.”

“I don’t feel sorry for him though. I’ve seen his scans and he’s so lucky to just be alive.” Ben is already back to work full-time and has started training with the British Rowing Team. “He hasn’t let anything stop him”, Hannah says. “Sport is his life. He’s never touched a drop of alcohol and never touched a bar of chocolate because he is so focused on his training. He’s still training a lot just in a different way.”

Ben’s active lifestyle has clearly rubbed off on Hannah who is currently in training to run the marathon for Aspire.  Ben had been recommended to Aspire by staff in the Spinal Centre for help getting back to living independently. Hannah says: “It was from there he said to me ‘I’d like you to raise money for them because they are helping people in my situation’. Ben is in a fortunate situation where he has a great network around him of family and friends but he said ‘Aspire do a lot for people who don’t necessarily have the best support’ and that’s when he asked if I would run for Aspire.”

Hannah is now only days away from the big day and has recently had a generous donation from Ben’s company of £1,000. Hannah says: “It was amazing! I just thought ‘oh God well I’ve got to do well now!’ Ben asked me to do it and all his friends have been so supportive – I just want to make everyone proud!”

Sponsor Hannah 

London Marathon

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