I am Melanie, a 25 year old aspiring para-athlete beginning my journey in wheelchair racing.
In January 2018 whilst cycling on a country road, I was hit by a car that failed to see me. The collision resulted in a number of injuries but the most significant was the trauma to my spinal cord resulting in paralysis from the waist down.
Prior to my accident I was a Physical Education teacher with a life filled with sport, exercise and being active outdoors. In realising the extent of my injuries, my biggest fear was losing everything that I loved doing.
However I went on to spend 7 months in hospital, working through rehabilitation and learning how to live life as a wheelchair user. As early as weeks after grasping the reality of my injuries, I began watching adaptive sport in hospital and became excited about all of the new opportunities that I wanted to get involved in.
Immediately after getting discharged from hospital I started playing tennis regularly and even travelled to Colorado to learn how to sit ski. If this wasn't enough, I was preparing myself to take on 3 marathons in 3 days for charity.
I also discovered something that I had a talent for and was worth pursuing competitively – Wheelchair racing. I started training in a racing chair at the beginning of last year with a club in Glasgow and went on to complete my debut season, finishing near the top of the national rankings in my classification.
My focus has since been to rebuild life through my passion for sport. I am using wheelchair racing and training to gain back independence, fitness and now have a bigger drive to succeed than ever before. This year I am going to compete across the UK, both on the track and road, and can’t wait to show what hard work and resilience together achieve.
I am excited for you to join me on this journey — wherever it will take me!