rio 2016 250-253

Kelda writes “Down but not Out…”

Kelda writes “Down but not out!”

So this is the moment I’ve been waiting to come for the last 2 years…to tell you whether I gor selected for Rio Paralympics or not!

But first, I think it’s important to tell you a little of what happened…

As you’ll know if you’ve read some of my previous blogs, this hasn’t been the smoothest of journeys. I’ve always tried to be open & honest with what I’ve written, for me the whole point in this blog is to show that often the things that matter the most to us, are the hardest things to achieve…but the important thing is to keep trying, never give up, to never be afraid of failure and to always be the best person you can possibly be.

So the week before the final selections I struggled to stand by all those things that I’ve said! But hey, we’re all human…something that I think goes hand in hand with all the positivity, is to be kind to yourself. We’re all allowed a bad day! And boy I was having a bad day!! The day before the selections I just let it all get on top of me. And the thing that upset me the most was the fact that this was the day we’d been focusing on for the last 2 years, and here was me wishing I wasn’t even there! It just wasn’t meant to be like this!!

But sometimes I think we have to accept that when things really matter to us we’re going to get emotional. Actually it’s a good thing, because it shows just how much we care.

And I woke up in a different place the next morning. I was ready to get out there & give it everything! But the difference in my attitude was this… I recognised I had a big challenge ahead, I had to beat the current World Champion if I was going to get selected, so the only thing I could do was get out there, give it my absolute best, and as long as I did that, the outcome would take care of itself. I just wanted to deliver the best race I knew I was capable of, and yo stay true to the person I wanted to be, If I did that I would be happy, whether I got selected or not.

And I delivered… I didn’t manage to beat the World Champion, so I won’t be on that plane to Rio, but I hit a personal best in both races ^ managed to go sub 54 seconds for the very first time.

And I am happy. I know I paddled the best race I possibly could & I was beaten by a better paddler on the day. Anne Dickens is World Champion & beat me by over 2 seconds, she is without doubt the boat to go to Rio & I am excited to see what she will do at the Games. As I told her after we finished the race “You just better make sure you get out there and win Gold now” No pressure Anne!

Rio 2016

It was the most incredible day, with so much emotion and passion from all the other athletes. I feel lucky and proud to have had the opportunity to experience being part of it, How special is it going to be able to watch my team mates competing out in Rio and I am genuinely excited to see what they will do. 6 incredible athletes have been selected who are going to do Team GB proud!

And before you all think that’s me done and dusted….no chance!!!! What last week showed me is that right now I’m just not ready to be a Paralympic paddler. It was 2 years to the days since I paddled in my first race…. and the it was all about trying to go in a straight line and not fall in!! So I see this as just a stepping stone in the journey. My focus now turns to the next 2 regattas we have left this season and then it’ll be next year with the aim of getting selected for the World & European Championships

 

And in 4 years time, who knows, I might be quite good…

Tokyo here we come!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to try is to succeed 250-253

Kelda Writes “It’s all about how we choose to see things.” ….

Kelda writes “It’s all about how we choose to see things…

kelda blog

 

When I look back over the last few weeks, I can see it through two very different pairs of eyes…and I’ve had to realise it’s my choice which pair I decide to look through. So I had to take some time before I started writing this blog, to work out the choice I wanted to make…because the easy choice isn’t always the right choice.

So last week I came back from competing in my first World Championships. I finished 10th overall, only just missing out on a place in the final & hitting an official Personal Best (PB). So was this a success or  a failure…

And here’s where the choice comes in.

So looking at the bigger Paralympian picture, this wasn’t a great result. I was a long way out of the medals, and with Anne Dickens, the GB first boat, laying down an impressive performance to win Gold, the chances of me getting selected for Rio are looking pretty slim.

For  me personally, I paddled well, I hit a PB, and I learnt so much from the experience. I know I’ve come away a better paddler…and I know there’s still so much more to come from me before I’m done!!

So the easy choice would be to see this as a negative & to grumble about “if only” this and “if only” that. But where would that get me! I’d probably want to walk away from the sport and feel like I’d failed. So this is how I’m choosing to see it… it was an amazing experience and I was so proud to be out there and to be part of an incredible squad. Yes, it was disappointing when I look at it in the context of Rio, but I gave it everything I had, and I need to accept that wasn’t good enough then it’s all part of my paddling journey. I might not have achieved the result I wanted but I can be proud that I gave it every bean that I had. I need to take the positives, learn from the experience and stay committed to achieving what I believe I am capable of.

I know there’s still a stronger, faster athlete in me, and it’s now it’s just a case of resetting the goals, and giving me a bit of time to find her!

And it’s not over yet! It now all comes down to the 4th June, the final selection regatta for the Games. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’ll be sat on that start line on Satirday ready to give it my all!

Team mate Rob Oliver, summed things up perfectly…

“We all train hard!

We all put everything into our sport!

We all deserve to go but only 1 can… this is going to be very very special on the 4th!!”

It’s been the most amazing journey and I know, whatever the outcome, I’ve given my absolute best.

So, the choice I am making ….to smile, enjoy and be proud, to appreciate the journey and to keep looking forwards. After all Tokyo’s only 4 years away!!!!!!

Postscript:

Just another quick post….3rd June 2016

So tomorrow is the final selection regatta for the Paralympics, and everything I’ve been working so hard for over the last 2 years all comes down to these 2 races.

The support everyone has given me has been priceless, and I will value and appreciate every bit of it long after the Paralympics are over.

I’ve learnt so much and I hope others have got something out of being part of the journey too. More than anything, I’ve learnt, and I hope maybe others have too, that it’s not always the winning that’s the most important thing, but giving things a go, not bring afraid of failure and just being the best person you can possibly be:)

After that anything else is just the icing on the cake.

So tomorrow I’m gonna get out there and try and get myself some icing….but whatever happens, I’ve still got a great cake!!!!

 

 

 

mandella 250-253

Kelda writes..He (or she) who looks backwards, stumbles when moving forwards….

Kelda writes  He (or she) who looks backwards, stumbles when moving forwards….

The last 2 weeks have been, what can only be called a roller coaster!

I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to write in this blog…..at times I’ve wanted to shout, rant and blame, at times I’ve wanted to moan about how unfair life is, at times I’ve wanted to say how strong I feel….and at times I’ve wanted to say how bloomin’ weak I feel!

So I’m going to say none of them!!!! Because the last 2 weeks have just been part of the journey….. I’ve learnt about myself and I’ve learnt about other people. Two weeks ago I completed in the selection regatta for the 2016 World Championships I paddled 2 strong races, it wasn’t an outstanding performance, but I was happy with the improvement it showed. Having just missed out on the time that guaranteed selection, I hoped iit showed enough potential for them to still select me for the World Championships, and keep me in the game for Rio.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. On the Monday morning I received a phone call that told me I hadn’t been selected. I was devastated. Not only did I feel that I’d done enough to deserve to be selected, but this meant my paralympic dream was over. It also meant they were leaving the squad without a reserve boat for Rio in my category, which I just couldn’t understand. The whole thing felt wrong.

So I decided to appeal.

To cut a very long story short, the appeal went to an arbitral panel and the decision was thankfully over turned. In 3 weeks time I’m now off to the World Championships in Duisburg, and most importantly, I’m still in with a shot at Rio!

There’s a lot I could say….but I’m choosing not to. Because what’s important now is looking forwards. I’ve been given an opportunity and I intend to grab it with both hands and give it my very, very best!

Last week I was guest speaker at the Shropshire Partners in Care Awards, and I had to really question just what I was going to say to everyone….or if I could even get up and speak at all! I was really questioning how much I believed the values that I’ve always stood by. Could I really stand up and inspire others, if I didn’t believe what I was saying myself! But in reflecting about what and how I would speak, I really learned something very important.

We become so focused on the outcome, but things so often happen that are out of our control…so it really is about being the best person you can be, whether that be in a training session, in how we behave, or how we treat others. This has taught me something amazing….that actually my journey is about being the best person I can be, and being happy with myself, and not just about that Gold medal!

The magic of the last 2 weeks has been the incredible support I’ve received from some amazing friends. It has meant so much to me to feel the love and support of so many people. I’ve learnt that in time, I’ll look back on this whole chapter and realise that, no matter what the outcome, the truly special thing about it all is how I’ve learnt to value and appreciate myself and the amazing people around me. It is not a gold medal that will define me, but how I choose to live my life.

And right now, I’m choosing to appreciate every day, every training sessions and every part of this whole journey. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to attack every day with grit and determination, but as long as I give my very best, I’m going to hold my head up high, be proud and learn to be happy with myself.

If I’m going to define myself as a paracanoeist – and maybe even as a person – based on whether I’ve paddled in the Paralympics or won gold medals, I’ve realised I’m devaluing myself. And as for anyone else who judges me on that? I probably don’t need to worry about their opinion that much anyway! Instead, I’m going to focus on enjoying myself, appreciating the people around me and pushing myself to be better, in and out of a boat.

That is what I want to define me.

 

Quirk and Kelly with Kelda

Kelda writes Breath, Relax…..and be Strong!!

I always anticipated that this journey would be full of ups and downs, but the last few weeks have surpassed any expectations I could’ve had!

2 weeks ago we had our final performance testing before the Games, and although I’d made some improvements, I didn’t show the big gains I was hoping for. However, I’ve been working hard on increasing my intensity and aggression, and when it came to the time trials on the water last Saturday I was confident I would deliver what was needed.

Phil Quirk and Phil Kelly with Kelda

Phil Quirk and Phil Kelly with Kelda

It was a windy day, but for once we were paddling with a tail wind, and I paddled what I felt was the best 200m I had ever done. I was buzzing! Finally I’d delivered the performance that I knew I was capable of…..and then I got my time. 56 seconds. Still slow, still a long way off the time I need to hit!

I was distraught. What else could I do! I’d given it my all, I wasn’t sure if I had anything else left to give. A fair bit of sole searching went on that weekend…..but I didn’t really come up with any answers. I couldn’t even work out what the questions were!

I then had a meeting with my coach. “You’ve just got to work harder” he said. Harder!!!! How can I work any harder! I really felt I had not an ounce more that I could give!

Ok, I’ll admit, I got a bit emotional….some might even say irrational (just for a change!). But I’ve always been a fighter, so I was sure as hell not going to give up! So after putting things into perspective and some fantastic support from the incredible people around me, I started to come up with a plan. I’m very much an actions kind of person, and once I’d started to put this plan together, I began to see a way forward.

And then Thursday happened…..

I’ve mentioned HBP Training before. They’re a performance coaching company who are giving me sponsorship in the form of mental coaching and support. They had a few ideas that they thought might help. So on Thursday I met with Phil Quirk from HBP. He talked me through a few ideas, and recognised that potentially one of the reasons I’m not seeing the gains from the intensive training I’ve been doing, is that I’ve been trying too hard, getting stressed and getting tense….this then has a detrimental effect on my paddling, which makes me more stressed, more tense…and makes me try even harder….and so the cycle continues!

We worked on getting me to relax….the complete opposite of what I thought I needed! I believed I needed to get more aggressive, more intense, paddle harder, paddle faster…..what Phil got me to see, was that actually what I needed to do was relax! If I relaxed then I could allow my body to use the power that’s just sitting waiting to be released!!

It was an amazing session, and I came away confident about the way forwards. One of the best things that Phil said to me was “We’ve got this.”To feel that I wasn’t on my own, that they were there beside me, supporting me to be the best I can be, really did give me a huge amount of confidence…..and I thank them both for giving me that.

The next morning I was sat on the start line, about to do another 200m time trial, and I just said to myself “Relax, we’ve got this”.

Now I can’t say I went out and smashed the World record, but I did paddle considerably better, knocked approximately 2 seconds off my time…..and enjoyed it a whole heap more!

I’m not saying this is going to provide all the answers, but that realization that sometimes when we try too hard, we can actually prevent ourselves from achieving what we’re capable of really will, I hope, give me a different approach to my paddling. The real learning for me is to relax, stay focused, control the controllable and don’t waste valuable energy stressing about things that I can’t control…..then I’ll put myself in the position that the gains can start to happen!

As they say….”Every day’s a school day”, and whether it’s an up or a down, there’s always something to be learnt. Gradually, I’m piecing all those leanings together, and when all those jigsaw pieces finally fit together…..I’m gonna be so fast you won’t even see me coming!!!!:-)

 

train insane

Kelda writes When the Going gets Tough…..

The 3 weeks since we came back from Brazil have been pretty tough. I think I must have thought I was going to come back as some kind of speed machine….unsurprisingly, that doesn’t seem to have happened!! We’ve introduced some new technical points, and I’ve been really struggling to get my head around what I’m trying to do….and the harder I’ve tried, the slower I’ve seemed to get! We’ve also introduced a new gym programme for me. We recognised in Brazil that I wasn’t hitting the targets I needed to be hitting, and that we were going to have to shake things up if I was going to make the improvements I need to make within the time frame I have before selections. And shake things up we certainly have!!!!

Kelda Blog Feb 16

My new gym programme is brutal! Although I can feel it will give me the gains I need, at the minute I’m feeling pretty broken after every session! This isn’t helping me to feel good on the water, as my arms and legs just feel like jelly! However, our motto in Brazil was “Train Insane or Stay the Same”…..so I guess I’ve just got to keep pushing through it!

I’ll be honest, I’ve let a bit of self doubt creep in over the last couple of weeks, and self doubt can be a dangerous thing! It’s understandable why this has happened, it feels like a long time since I had any evidence to give me any reason to believe I’m capable of hitting the times I need to hit. But sometimes we just have to keep on going and work through the difficult patches….after all, if it was easy everyone would be doing it!

And then I watched the Scotland v Italy rugby match at the weekend. Scotland were outstanding in their relentless drive, but after one of their players was yellow carded and sent off for 10 mins, they could easily have let their heads go down. However, instead they kept pushing, pushing, pushing…..and then they scored!

As the commentator said….”They were a man down, but they had the belief”

I realised I need to be more like them…..even when things aren’t going well, even when your the underdog, if you keep believing you can do it, then anything is possible. I certainly don’t want to miss out on selection just because I didn’t “think” I could do it!

I want to be part of that squad that will be racing on the lake in the photo below in September. I know it won’t be easy, but there’s certainly no time or room for self doubt. So next week I’m going to be attacking my sessions with belief and commitment…..it’s my choice, I can let my head go down, or I can come out believing, just like Scotland did!

As Greig Laidlaw, the Scottish Team captain said:Always get out of the champions side of bed”

Aside from training, Climbing Out is gearing up for the programmes that will be running this summer. I’ve had to take somewhat of a back seat with Climbing Out while I focus on training, and I’ve found this difficult….I feel very guilty that I can’t give the commitment to the charity that I have in the past. However, I hope my personal journey will inspire and motivate many of the young people we work with and give them the belief that life isn’t about the set backs we face, but how we deal with them.

The link below shows a short video that was made during one of the Climbing Out programmes last year…..please take a look, if ever there was any reason to believe that anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself, then it’s right here in the next 3 minutes!

Changing Lives https://youtu.be/QvDUmGk4_VA

 

 

 

 

Fordhall Farm

From outdoor cooking to feeding pigs, Fordhall Farm has lots to offer.

Thank you to Bex, Manager is Care Farm Manager at Fordhall Farm, she share with us about their work.

The Fordhall Community Land Initiative has been running a Care Farm since September 2015 having initially worked closely with the Wayfarers group in Market Drayton to enable adults with learning difficulties to come to the farm and experience the community at Fordhall.

Some of you may be asking what is a Care Farm, so here is the official definition from the Care Farming organisation that provides a voice and support for care farmers.

“A Care farm provides health, social and educational care services through supervised, structured programmes of farming-related activities for a wide range of vulnerable people (Care Farming UK 2014).”

At Fordhall we are able to offer a wide variety of opportunities for adults with learning difficulties who wish to experience working outside in a range of settings.

We grow, cook and eat produce from raised beds in the community garden, help with conservation work on the farm, enjoy walks in the woodland and creatively engage in a variety of activities 48 weeks of the year.

We work to help build people’s self-esteem, their communication skills and a sense of place and belonging within the community.

The atmosphere at Fordhall is relaxed and informal and anyone coming to the sessions is seen as being part of the team, helping and contributing to create a welcoming and enjoyable place to visit.

Primarily the group works in the community garden where we grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. We plan what to grow each year and everyone is involved in sowing seeds, weeding, helping to grow the plants and harvesting them.

Food that we grow is taken home by anyone who helps in the garden. We also have regular outdoor cooking sessions when we get to cook and eat the wonderful produce grown and surplus is used to make chutneys and jams to sell in the farm shop. Our wonderful clay oven is fired up to make great pizzas which everyone enjoys.

Our group also has time to stretch their legs and go for a walk; a favourite is down to the woods to sit on the bench and look out across the Tern valley, an opportunity to take in the scenery and enjoy the peace of the woods.

We have noticed since people have been coming to the Care Farm group that they are fitter and healthier as a result of being outside, working on the farm.

Here are some observations we thought you might like to read,

MrsT wrote to us recently….

PT really enjoys coming to the farm; every Tuesday he gets his bag ready for the next day, I don’t know what you are doing that is different but long may it last”

Her son has struggled to attend other services but each time he arrives at Fordhall he is grinning from ear to ear!

CF enjoys making chutneys and jams and makes sure everything is tidied up and put away at the end of our cooking session.

“I like to feed the pigs, it was lovely.” RL

Some background information about the sessions:

This is a chargeable service and support is given to each individual from fully trained and experienced staff.

We currently run a service one day a week, on a Wednesday from between 9 am and 4pm, and we are now looking to expand the service to a Thursday as more people want to come and join us.

Light refreshments are provided but not lunch.

If you are aware of somebody interested in attending our sessions, please call:

Bex Syrett our care farm manager.

As Bex is freelance it is best to contact her by phone: 07875 742 522 (please, not on a Wednesday) or e-mail: [email protected] and she will arrange an initial visit and taster session them.

If you would like to visit Fordhall just to have a look around, we are open everyday except Monday and there is no entry charge. Our website is www.fordhallfarm.com

And to find out more about care farms go to www.carefarminguk.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kelda training team

Kelda’s News from Belo, Brazil-one week in!

Kelda‘s News from Belo, Brazil-one week in!

We’ve now been out in Belo, Brazil for just over week. It’s been a fantastic experience, but it hasn’t all gone according to plan! Firstly, it rained solidly for 3 days. None stop!! So much for getting to paddle in better conditions! On the plus side, it has still been warm…..but not quite what we expected!!

The Olympic and Paralympic Squad together in Brazil

Last Saturday we did our first time trials of the season. This is where we treat it as a race day and go through all our processes, both mentally and physically, and then deliver 2 x 200m’s under race conditions.

I’ve put a lot of things in place with both my coach and the team psych to help with this “race day” preparation, and I was really happy with what I delivered. It felt solid, focused and one of the best 200m I’ve done.

However, when I found out the time, I was incredibly disappointed! Both my runs had been 57 seconds – that’s 4 seconds slower than my PB!

Now water and weather conditions play a big part in the times we can hit, so I could cope with the slow time, but I was 5 seconds behind Anne Dickens, my rival for the slot for the Rio paralympics. I’ll be honest, I was gutted! After all the hard work over the winter and the gains that have been made, I expected to be much closer to her than I was.

I’ve always said I wanted this blog to be open and honest….so I’m not going to hide from admitting that I struggled for a couple of days. It really knocked me. 5 seconds is a huge amount of time over 200m and I really started to question whether I was capable of making up that amount of time over the next 5 months.

The trouble is, once you start to doubt yourself it then starts to impact on your sessions. The next day I had a bad session in the gym, followed by a couple of poor sessions on the water. It turns into a vicious circle, the more poor sessions I had the more it reinforced my thoughts that maybe I couldn’t do it.

I desperately wanted the feisty, determined, gritty Kelda back…..but it just wasn’t happening!!

I guess sometimes you just have to be kind to yourself and accept that you’re only human and can’t be smashing it 365 days a year!

Our team psych then said to me “Kelda, you have a choice, you either say 5 seconds is too much, and you give up and stop trying. Or you say to yourself, ok, 5 seconds is a lot, so I’m going to use every session I’ve got to try and close that gap.”

I didn’t like being dweeby….and I knew I definitely didn’t want to give up!!!!!!

I woke up the next morning with a new sense of purpose. 5 seconds in 5 months…..that’s 1 second a month….that’s 0.25 a week…..now that seems achievable!!

I went in and smashed the gym!! BOOM!!!

It just shows how much of what we’re capable of achieving is all in our heads and in our mind set! Our only limitation, is the limitations we place on ourselves

So, it’s time to give myself a kick up the bum and approach things with a similar attitude to when I missed out on selections for the World Championships. I know what I’ve got to do, so let’s push any doubts or negativity out of my mind and get out there and give it my all. Time to believe, time to work hard…..time to make it happen!!!!!

 

rio 250-253

Kelda tells the ups & downs & now flies to Belo in Brazil with the rest of the GB Paracanoe Squad….

On Friday the 15th January, I’ll be flying out to Belo in Brazil with the rest of the GB Paracanoe Squad for a 2 week training camp that will be a vital part of our preparation for the Paralympics in September.

Rio_PicBranded.122507.113030

After all the ups and downs of the last 12 months I am incredibly proud to be part of the team going out there, and this is a huge stepping stone in fulfilling my childhood dream of representing my country at the Olympics.

I still have to pinch myself everyday to make sure I realise that this is actually happening!

It’s been hard work since we came back after Christmas, going straight into 2 days of performance testing. I delivered solid performances, although I didn’t smash it quite like I’d hoped. Still, improvements are continually happening and I’m feeling strong and ready to take on everything the training camp has to offer.

We’ll be staying in Belo for two weeks training at the same venue as the holding camp for the actual Paralympics. This will give us the opportunity to get familiar with the training environment, enabling us to deliver peak performances come September. Vital research will also be done into our sleep patterns, the effect of training at altitude, as well as all areas of training, hydration and nutrition. From this research, leanings will be drawn and any necessary actions taken in order to maximize our performances at the Games. It’s exciting to be part of such a process.

We’ll then go up to Rio itself for two days to familiarise ourselves with the actual Olympic venue. This is an amazing opportunity to go into the Games the best prepared we can possibly be.

Thanks must go to UK Sport and Lottery Funding, without whom this trip would not be possible. Hand in hand with the World Class support and coaching we receive through British Canoeing, we really do enter into the Olympic year as genuine contenders at the Games. I am proud and incredibly grateful to be part of this amazing team.

I intend to put my heart and sole into every aspect of training in Brazil, maximise every opportunity I can, and come back fitter, stronger and with some vital experience under my belt.

Final selection all comes down to 2 races on the 5th June. Anne Dickens is the competitor I have to beat if I’m going to be the boat that goes to Rio….and what a competitor she is! Anne has medalled at the World Championships for the last 4 years, and I have massive respect for her as a paddler…..so I’ve not got an easy job on my hand! However, I love a challenge, I truly believe I can do it, and I will be giving above and beyond over the next 6 months to make sure I give this my very best.

Whether you think you can, or you think you cant, you’re probably right” Quote from Author Henry Ford

I know what I think……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelda Reflecting on 2015 & hoping 2016 will be Golden.

Things were looking exciting at the start of the year, however I then got injured, didn’t get selected for the World Championships…..and the prospect of getting selected for the paralympics felt a million miles away! I look back now, and it was a particularly tough time and it made me question a lot of things. However, I often say to people it’s all about the journey that these challenges take you on…..and I came out of it stronger and more determined than ever to do everything I could to be the athlete that I knew I could be.

I was very proud when the coaches told me that I was staying on the Rio pathway, and since September I’ve had a new sense of self belief and purpose. It’s been an incredible journey, and it’s not finished yet!!!! We’re off to Brazil in January for a training camp and then before we know it, it’ll be the world Championships and then straight into the selections for Rio on June 5th. The next 6 months are going to be the ones that really make it count, so it’s time to work harder and be more committed than I’ve ever done in my life before!!!

There are so many people to thank that have played such an important part in making this all happen. First and foremost, the coaches at the High Performance Centre. They do an amazing job and somehow manage to put up with all of us demanding athletes! But none of this could happen without the funding from UK Sport. They provide us with fantastic facilities and really do give us the best chance of being a World Class Squad that leads the rest of the nations.

For me personally I must also thank my sponsors for this year, East Midlands Civil Engineering, The Charter 600 Charity Committee, J and PR, HBP Training and Geoff Ward Film and Photography. Without their support the journey this year could’ve had a very different outcome.

I must also thank Skechers UK for all their help in sourcing and providing suitable training footwear that compensates for the limitations in my ankle, and Brad Snape and Andrew King from One Stop for their support as we move into 2016.

Marc Woods, himself a 5 x Paralympic swimmer, has been like a guardian angel to me over the last 12 months and I can’t thank him enough for all the help and support he’s given me. We all need a “Marc” in our lives and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the benefit of his advice and words of wisdom.

There are going to be so many people to thank when I’m stood on that podium…..and I will be doing everything I can to make them all proud in 2016.

Aside from all the training, I had the pleasure of going up to Wigan to talk to 180 children from St Wilfred’s primary academy. It was an awesome afternoon and I was so impressed with both the school and the amazing energy and enthusiasm from all the children. It went a little bit bonkers when I gave them all a balloon to blow up, representing whatever they might dream of achieving. The idea was that if your balloon bursts, blows away or looses all its air, then that’s ok, it’s all about finding another balloon and working as hard as you can to blow that back up…..don’t worry when things don’t always work out, the important thing is to pick yourself back up and keep going….whether that’s trying to blow that same balloon back up, or whether you just find a new balloon all together. There ended up with a lot of AWOL balloons, but they were an awesome bunch of kids and really got the message I was putting across.

Talking of messages…..below is a link to a short video showing one of the amazing stories from our Climbing Out programmes this year. If ever there was a message to be given, I think this says it all. I’d ask you to please take 2 minutes out of your day to watch the clip.

https://youtu.be/71n5xQ5rAOg

Well, all that’s left to be said, is to say “I hope you all had a Merry Christmas & wishing you a Happy New Year. Thank you for all the wonderful support you’ve given me throughout 2015…..and let’s hope it’s a very golden 2016!

Kelda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda 250-253

Finding Our New (Normal) Life with a Urostomy

Thank you to Amanda White, SDN Member who agreed we could share the blog she wrote for @Coloplast UK. 

In January this year, husband Stephen was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Here Amanda gives an insight into what life has been like for both Stephen and herself… http://myostomy.co.uk/2015/11/26/life-with-a-urostomy/

Thank you Amanda & Stephen, all of us at Shropshire Disability Network send you our good wishes.