My story is about a bitter sweet moment in time and learning to find resilience.
In January 2019 our lives changed for the better, forever, with the birth of our smiley boy Joe, brother to big sister Ellie. What we didn't expect was my diagnosis of not one, but two spinal cord tumours, two days later.
When I became paralysed from the waist down it affected us all. Two complex spinal surgeries and rehabilitation to learn to walk again (twice) meant I was in various hospitals and spinal units, away from my family, for four months. And recovery after recent radiotherapy for the second tumour continues.
But here I am, five months later, signing up for the Superhero Triathlon (who would have thought, for more reasons than one!) It won't be about the minutes, it'll be about the determination to finish and the gratitude that I am mobile and able enough to do so.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is about more than being a walker or a non-walker. Much of it is hidden - bladder and bowel issues, changes in sensation, fatigue. The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is the UK's leading national user-led spinal cord injuries charity, providing lifelong support to those living with SCI and their families.
I'm proud to be swimming 150m in open water, cycling 3k and running (well, walking) 1k to raise funds to help SIA continue their vital work supporting us all.
17th August is seven months to the day from my first, emergency surgery. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my family so much already on our journey this year.
Claire, Ali, Ellie and Joe x
'Resilience is being grateful for our scars.' Niek van den Adel