This April Daniella Harris is running the London marathon to raise money for Aspire. In February 2017 Daniella’s father, Stephen, sustained a spinal cord injury following a severe cycling accident. He had been on a fairly routine long cycle ride and to this day neither Stephen nor the rest of the family have any idea what caused him to come off of his bike on a quiet country lane near Tring.

“Dad was taken into hospital on 17th February 2017 after being found unconscious in the road, still on his bike. After plenty of tests we discovered that Dad had broken his neck at C1 level. This injury has left Dad tetraplegic.”

Daniella with Dad Stephen

Injuring his spinal cord at the highest level meant that Stephen became paralysed from the shoulders down. Prior to his spinal cord injury Stephen was incredibly active, in fact the day of his accident he had been out for a 50 mile ride. Exercise and physical activeness is something he had always instilled in Daniella (and her three brothers); poignantly it was running that helped her process what had happened.

Harris family in car

Daniella is training at a professional dance school so she is no stranger to intensive exercise, however, she was not always the dedicated runner she is today (training four to five times a week). Talking about her previous running experience she said:

“I have never run a marathon or any distance before, I remember doing the 12 minute Cooper Test at school in PE and walking most of it.”

Transitioning from 12 minutes to 26.2 miles requires a carefully planned training schedule, with runs sometimes spanning several hours in duration. Balancing this full running timetable with dance school leaves Daniella little time for anything else. She is truly putting her all into training before the big day, and having raised close to £4,000 is putting everything into her fundraising for Aspire as well.

"Aspire very quickly became prevalent in Dad’s independence whilst in rehab and has been a massive influence in his recovery so far. They have provided Dad with a mouth mouse so that he can operate his computer using his mouth, this has helped him communicate with life outside of the hospital during his long stay so far."

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