In March of 2015, a woman named Riona Kelly was rushed to the hospital having suffered an extremely rare spinal stroke.
Riona– a 37-year-old mom to 4 children between the ages of 5 and 6– was left paralyzed from the waist down after the stroke. Doctors said she would never regain the use of her legs.
To make matters worse, Riona says her husband of 14 years asked for a divorce directly after the stroke, as she lay in her hospital bed.
“If someone had given me the choice, I would have ended my life,” said Riona. “I didn’t want to live anymore.” But her children became her inspiration.
After four months in the hospital, Riona finally began to see progress– even taking some steps with the help of specialized equipment! Finally, she could go home.
“At the time, I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to be strong for my children and so when I finally took my first steps it felt amazing.”
But that’s not even the best part of Riona’s story.
Once she was home, Riona posted on Facebook asking if anyone knew of a personal trainer who could help her rehabilitate. That’s when she met Keith Mason.
In months-old Instagram posts, Riona thanked Keith for pushing her in their sessions. Her progress was nothing short of amazing! But when Riona decided to stop training with Keith, he reached out.
Nearly 2 years ago I had a spinal stroke leaving me paralysed from the mid waist down. I was told I’d never walk again! This wasn’t something that I was going to accept! Today with the support of my PT @keithmason106 I achieved something I thought near impossible… leg curls!! & this woman smashed them!! Feeling more determined than ever.!! #strength #belief #warrior #fighter #nevergiveup #inspire #fitness #fitmum #determination #goals #definingodds #paralysis #disability #achieve #dreams
“After our sessions, Keith and I stayed in contact. He would ask me how I was getting on and our relationship blossomed from there.”
Soon, the man who had helped her walk again became much more than a personal trainer.
When you find the link that was always missing in your world. In life we come across that one person that fits our puzzle as if they were perfectly made for us. These people are rare & should be cherished & loved, never to be taken for granted. #❤️ #king #queen #bestfriends #life #partners #perfect #romance #love
“We have now been together 11 months. The children really like him and I finally feel like I’m living the life I deserve.”
My King 👑 I thank the lord for bringing my soul mate into my life. Apart from my children I have never loved anyone the way that I love my best friend. He’s shown me the true meaning of a loving relationship. A relationship that’s strong. That works in harmony. That compromises. That’s loyal & true & above all a relationship that just works so perfectly. I’ve heard for years that relationships are hard work & for years that’s what I had until now. Loving you British Blue is effortless & thoroughly enjoyable. Here’s to many years of happiness #❤️ #King #Queen #truelove #bestfriend #relationshipgoals #happytimes #future #bond #soulmate #mypurpose #myworld #inlove #boyfriend #girlfriend #partnership #inspire
Keith also has a 5-year-old daughter, and the little families have come together in a beautiful way! Not only that, Riona’s strength has rapidly improved. Now she uses a wheelchair to travel long distances but is able to walk with crutches most days. In fact, she walks completely unaided when at home.
As if that isn’t impressive enough, Riona has managed to complete 2 marathons since her stroke with the help of her wheelchair.
“Keith says I inspire him, but he encourages me every day,” Riona says. “Looking back, going through what I did was the best thing to ever happen to me.”
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