Seemingly bad things happen that you can't change, so you might as well make the best of it.  When I was a child I remember my mother carry a big glass casserole dish into the kitchen.  She dropped it and it shattered, sending glass everywhere.  She looked at me and said, 'Well, now I don't have to wash it up'.  All negatives have a positive.

Justin became a paraplegic after an operation for a slipped disc.  I subsequently spent many frustrating hours writing letters and on the phone trying to get appointments with the appropriate specialists, and then taking him to those appointments to try and get answers as to why he could not walk.  We were angry with the doctors and physiotherapists who seemed uncaring and impotent.  It was not until two years later that Justin saw someone who said he not would walk again.  For Justin, that was a turning point, his anger and frustration dissipated, and he realised he had to make a new life for himself.

You never know how you will cope with any situation until you are put to the test; I was put to that test, as was my younger daughter, Daniella.  There was no conscious decision or discussion as to how to deal with the situation, we simply did what had to be done, which was to continue our lives in the same positive and optimistic way as previously.

Jakki watching Justin wheelchair racing

It's not been an easy journey.  We had to contend with indifferent NHS employees, an uninterested local council, unconcerned housing officers and a wheelchair service incapable of meeting the needs of my son.

We don't look back, there is no point

But I am immensely proud of Justin.  I always was, and I knew he would succeed in whatever he chose to do and make a valuable contribution to society.  Being a paraplegic has made no difference to that.  He has achieved more since being in a wheelchair than most people ever will.  He gives generously and unselfishly of his time raising money for charity, as a speaker, and in other ways to help disabled people, and he has become a very successful wheelchair racer.

It doesn't mean that things haven't changed in my life.  Wherever I go I find myself looking at what access is like, whether there are accessible toilets, or if a wheelchair can fit at the restaurant table.  I always make a point of talking to the management to ask why they don't want customers who are wheelchair users and why they do not provide proper access.

And for seven years I haven't had the pleasure of hugging my son, who is 6 foot 4 inches tall.  I miss that, now I get back ache when I hug him.

When I look at Justin, what I see is my fit, healthy son who is a good, decent and very funny person.  We don't look back, there is no point, we can neither change nor fix the situation, so we lead our normal lives, as we did from the outset.

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