Woman with paralysis raises over half a million for spinal injury research
542. Claire Lomas
Inspirational fundraiser dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis
Claire Lomas, from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, was left paralysed from the chest down after a horse riding accident in 2007. Despite the tragic accident, Claire has dedicated herself to supporting others and finding a cure for paralysis.
Before the accident, Claire was a chiropractor and top level event rider but after the accident she was unable to compete again. She discharged herself from hospital after just 8 weeks and began intense rehab.
Claire started fundraising to find a cure for paralysis just a year after her accident – she gathered international support when she became the first paraplegic person to complete the London Marathon. This was an incredible feat, using a robotic suit that allowed her to stand and walk. It took 17 days and by the time the word had spread about her remarkable achievement crowds lined the finish and she was given a mounted escort by the Household Cavalry.
Completing 26.2 miles and raising £210,000 was not enough for Claire and she went on to hand cycle 400 miles – carrying out school talks en route to inspire young students. On top of this Claire has recently started to learn how to ride and control a motorbike – with no core strength or feeling – she can’t even feel the seat. Through this she is supporting a charity encouraging those with disabilities to get back on a motorbike.
She has also written books, organised half marathons and held various events with celebrities from the sporting world, in total raising over £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation and she has no intention of winding down soon.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Claire is an inspirational fundraiser and it is easy to see how the remarkable physical challenges she takes on have captured the imagination of so many people.
“She has shown incredible commitment to the efforts to find a cure for paralysis. I’m pleased to name her a Point of Light.”
Claire Lomas said:
“It is a complete honour to receive this award and even more special to get it on a day when I take on one of my toughest challenges to date walking 10k in a day. Although initially it was hard to adapt to my new life, I felt fortunate to have use of my arms- many I saw in hospital had spinal cord damage to their neck. I decided I would do what I could to help cure paralysis through fundraising for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation. NSIF are continuing to make groundbreaking progress with their research that offers hope to thousands.”