It is not a rare thing for me to read an inspiring story about someone overcoming great obstacles and end up crying. Let me tell you… I’m a crier. But it is a rare thing when the very thought of that person’s story still has me choked up nearly a week later just upon thinking of it. And that is why I’d like to share Claire’s recent achievement and share just what it means to me.
Claire Lomas is paralyzed from the chest down – the result of being thrown from her horse during competitive riding finals in 2007. This past week, after 16 arduous days of slow and careful stepping, she became the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit. So first of all, that is already one of the most badass things I can imagine. On top of that, her ambitious goal gained the attention of many, including sponsors and other supporters who donated to her cause. By the time she reached the finish line, Claire had raised over £132,ooo for Spinal Research. Wow.
What amazes me most about this story is that it’s not just about one woman and her goal to walk again. There is so much more here. The fact that she used her walking for a greater good – making it a goal so seemingly insurmountable as to not be ignored. And of course it inspired a world of people, who in turn showed immense outpourings of support for her bravery. Then I begin to think of the bionic suit itself… and the scientists and engineers who must have poured their hearts and souls and uncountable hours into creating such a thing. Imagine what her success meant to them – and what their creation has meant to her. And finally, I think to myself, my god, what if I were paralyzed? And I saw this woman halfway across the world who just walked a marathon! Sure she has a $70,000 suit in order to do it, but she is walking again. That would be enough to change my whole world.
Thank you Claire, for living your life with gusto! And, as I have read in almost every article written about your story, doing it while always wearing a smile.
*Photo credit: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
“Paralysed Claire Lomas completes London Marathon” – The Telegraph
“Paralysed Athlete Finishes Marathon” – Independent.ie