Thousands raised as paraplegic Monmouth woman climbs Snowdon

By Victoria Hallifax in Charity

A COURAGEOUS Monmouth woman has climbed the tallest mountain in Wales in an all-terrain wheelchair, raising thousands for charity.

Surrounded by a team of supporters, Katy Kelly from Pen-y-fan, near the Narth, took part in The Back Up Trust’s annual Snowdon challenge called the Snowdon Push, where large teams ascend the gruelling mountain with one wheelchair user in their group.

The determined team raised £2,200 for the spinal cord injury charity.

Katy was encouraged to take part by friend Simon Henley MBE from Tregagle, who works with Australian mobility company Magic Mobility Pty Ltd. Mr Henley said: “Every so often you come across someone who regards a life-changing event as a challenge to be overcome, rather than an obstacle or a limitation on their future life.

“Katy suffered a mid-spinal injury in a horse riding accident some years ago, and has spent her time since then beating the challenges of paralysis from the middle of her back downwards.

“She has designed and project-managed the building of her own fully accessible property, resumed her job as an orthodontist, and can get about completely independently using a manual wheelchair and a car adapted for hand controls.

“When I became involved with Magic Mobility, I took Katy over an all-terrain wheelchair to get her opinion of it, and she loved it”.

Mr Henley continued: “She said it allowed her to access places she wasn’t previously able to in her quad bike.”

The Push group was made up of 11 people, including as well as Katy and Simon, two physiotherapists, one outdoor activities instructor, a New Zealand Iron Man champion, a weight-lifter, and a few engineers on hand to tackle any issues with the chair.

After tackling some of the rockiest parts of the mountain, Katy and the team conquered the mountain with the chair overcoming the tall steps and narrow, rocky paths. Katy said: “The chair did 80 per cent of the work, it was great actually.

“I was very dubious at the start that the chair would make it up there, but it was brilliant and we had a great team of people.”

After becoming involved with Back Up after her accident 17 years ago, Katy has worked hard to push the boundaries of her disability. She has been skiing and kayaking, and has now become the first person to reach the summit of Snowdon in a powered wheelchair using the footpaths, rather than resorting the railway line.

Her supportive team didn’t want to see her miss out on climbing the rocky platform to highest point of the mountain, so leaving the wheelchair below because of the crowds, they lifted her from her chair for a piggy back to the top.

Simon added: “Katy proved that even a spinal injury doesn’t stop you reaching the pinnacle of anything you aspire to if you have the right wheelchair and the right team around you.”

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