Sarah Wilson, her husband Adam Wilson, and her two friends Rebecca Hares and Diana Gibson Image supplied by Action Group.

Sarah Wilson, 36, a mother of three from Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire, has taken on a 135-mile charity challenge as part of a team made up of two close friends and her husband to safeguard a life changing spinal cord injury rehabilitation programme that helped her when she was injured.

On 29 September 2018, life changed in an instant for Sarah when she fell from her horse while out riding on the farm where she lives.

Despite wearing protection, Sarah had broken her neck in the one-inch gap between the bottom of her hat and the top of her body protector, leaving her paralysed from the chest down.

Sarah was then moved to the specialist spinal cord injury hospital at Stoke Mandeville, where she spent the next 14 months as part of her rehabilitation. She said:

“Coming out of hospital was a really daunting and scary process. It was a relief to hear about Neurokinex as I’d been worried about what the next phase would be once I was able to go home.

“My physio found out more and referred me to Neurokinex for six free sessions as part of its Step Up Scheme. This was a massive weight off my shoulders.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I first arrived at Neurokinex, but the team couldn’t have been more welcoming. They really understand and put me utterly at ease.”

When Neurokinex announced the month-long Step It Up Challenge to raise funds to safeguard its Step Up Scheme, it was Sarah’s friend Rebecca who spotted the opportunity.

She was quick to sign up to help the charity who supported Sarah and suggested she be part of the team too. All four were desperate to give back to the charity that has helped Sarah so much. Rebecca said:

“Neurokinex have helped Sarah in so many ways, so when I spotted the challenge I was really keen to give back.

“I wanted to take part as I’ve seen first hand the progress Sarah has made since attending Neurokinex and it was all down to the first six free sessions. Taking part in the challenge gave me the chance to help others who might benefit from the Step Up Scheme.”

The Step It Up Challenge ran from 1 to 31 August and included people working as individuals and in teams to travel the equivalent distance between one or more Neurokinex sites as follows:

  • 65 miles between Neurokinex Gatwick and Neurokinex Hemel Hempstead
  • 130 miles between Neurokinex Bristol and Neurokinex Hemel Hempstead
  • 135 miles between Neurokinex Bristol and Neurokinex Gatwick

Participants could cover the distance however they chose – walking, cycling, swimming and running all count.  They could travel in their wheelchair, use a bicycle, tricycle or hand cycle.

Sarah and the team have now completed their 135mile challenge and Sarah has been taking part by using her hand bike as well as pushing herself in her wheelchair. Sarah said:

“Neurokinex has been an absolute lifeline for me. The six free sessions were the perfect starting block to get me on board and  it’s now a key part of my rehab routine.

“What I love about Neurokinex is how the sessions make me feel. I wanted to take part in the Step It Up Challenge to give someone else the great opportunity I’ve had with Neurokinex as it is truly life changing.”

Seeking sponsorship

To really make Sarah and Bec’s team effort count, they are looking for sponsors to help the campaign reach its £20,000 target here