27 year-old Giselle was competing in a motorcycle drag race when she broke her back, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. At the time of her accident, she was living in London and working in the fashion industry - overnight she was facing a totally different future than the one she had planned.
The physical impacts of her injury were one thing, but Giselle says the mental impacts were harder to deal with due to spending so long in hospital and losing the independence that she’d always taken for granted. She also found it difficult seeing how upset her family were about what had happened and their feelings of helplessness. It took her time to adjust to her new body and its limitations.
Giselle says: “I look back at it now and don’t know how I kept going because of how physically and mentally exhausting it was. I also tried to pick up where I left off in terms of my social life which just wasn’t feasible as I got so tired. Adjusting to what I was now capable of was hard.”
Giselle joined the Foundation’s community just a month after leaving hospital and Hambo and the team have since helped her to stand and walk again, regaining the freedom and independence that she lost.
She adds: “How the Foundation has changed my life is hard to put into words. They’ve helped with my recovery and fitness, but more than that, they’ve changed my way of thinking and are a constant reminder to work hard and go out and get life.
“The community we have is such a strong reminder that you aren’t alone. Knowing there are always people there to support you makes it easier to move on with life and try things. We get to be part of something special…it feels amazing.”
Giselle is back on her feet and getting stronger and more mobile every day. She has moved back to London, works four days a week and now spends her time seeing her friends and planning a round the world trip with her boyfriend.
“The centre isn’t just a place to get therapy, it’s being in an environment with others going through the same life changing experience. It feels like a family home, we eat lunch together everyday, laugh and it’s a place that reminds you that life carries on and can still be great. There is so much positive energy from everyone.”