“Being born with a disability like cerebral palsy doesn’t come without its challenges, from being born prematurely to years of physiotherapy and hospital appointments to the daily challenges that I still face today. My cerebral palsy mainly affects my legs and learning to walk unaided is just one of things I’ve had to face physically. I have also suffered a lot mentally with anxiety and depression which started in my teens. I manage to live a mainly independent life, I have a job and I have recently moved into my own home. Around 18 months ago my depression was at its worst; I couldn’t even leave the house on my own. Eventually after some really dark days I decided it was time to change some things in my life and start talking to people about how I was feeling. This was when I was encouraged by some of my friends to try something totally different, like going to the gym.
I can honestly say that going to the gym and training has changed my life. When I first went along to a consultation with my Personal Trainer, Richard, one of the main words I remember been said over and over again was confidence. My first session went exactly how I thought, I was nervous and thought I’d was really achieving much but I stuck at it and over the weeks and months with the right support and guidance from Richard my confidence grew daily and I started to see changes physically and mentally. I stated to realise that I could do anything at the gym, it just takes a bit more time and patience.
I decided to take on The Red Warrior Challenge (a 5k obstacle course) to prove to myself and to others that I was capable of doing anything I put my mind to. It wasn’t something I instantly thought “Yes I’m going to do this”, I contemplated it a lot and talked about it with my friends and family. The support and encouragement they showed me actually shocked me a lot as I initially thought they might say it wasn’t a good idea. I also spoke about it a lot with my Personal Trainer, who was organising the event, and he was confident that I could do it. He had shown so much belief in me in the last year I knew he wouldn’t tell me I could do something if he genuinely thought I was not capable of doing it.
Before the race I was surprised at how calm I was but I knew I’d worked hard in training and I’d had so much support from family, friends and even people I didn’t even know in the lead up to the event and with the fundraising, I knew I was ready. There was no way I was leaving the event without crossing the finish line, no matter how long it took me!
The race was one of the toughest things I have ever faced physically.
However it was also so much fun, the team I had with me were brilliant keeping my spirits up, I couldn’t have done it without them. The support I had from all the Marshalls along the way encouraging me and telling me how well I was doing really helped me. I was totally overwhelmed and emotional when I crossed that finish line; I had nothing left at the end.
I will be forever grateful to everyone who was there cheering me on until the very end. It’s slowly starting to sink in what I actually achieved that day and no one can ever take that away from me. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, donated and still donating via my just giving page it really means a lot to me.
Almost a year to the day since my first session I can’t imagine not going to the gym now. I’ve achieved some amazing things from doing pulls up to deadlifting! Finding not only a Personal Trainer but a friend like Richard to help me on this amazing journey means a lot to me and I’m excited about my future. Who knows what challenge I’m going to take on next or what I’m going to achieve in 2020!
I took on this challenge not only for myself but to show other people that you really can do anything! So if you are reading this and have cerebral palsy, any other disability or are even struggling mentally, never be afraid to speak out or ask for help and just remember anything is possible if you just believe in yourself.”
To find out more about Emily’s story, follow her on Instagram @emilys.90
To read Emily’s blog, please click here.
To visit Emily’s fundraising page, please click here.