A WOMAN left paralysed after a hit and run is showing her life-changing injuries will not hold her back as she takes to the water for two charities close to her heart.
Lizzie Tench, formerly of Stramshall, is preparing to brave the cold to swim in two mile-long open water swims for spinal charities.
The first will be Great Manchester Swim in July for Spinal Research and then the Epic Lakes Swim on Coniston Water in August for The Back Up Trust.
The 39-year-old saw a bike ride with partner Jon Purslow in 2012 change her life forever after she was struck by a trailer being towed by a 4-wheel drive, which overtook too close.
She was catapulted into the air, bounced off the trailer and was sent spinning down the road. The driver failed to stop and, despite a police investigation, was never traced.
Ms Tench was air-lifted to hospital and had abrasions, a broken nose, fractured cheekbone, damaged eye socket, facial injuries, five broken ribs, a bleeding spleen, two fractured lumbar vertebrae and spinal cord damage, resulting in paralysis from the waist down.
She had five vertebrae fused together to stabilise her spine and two facial surgeries.
As a result she could not return to her home and lost her job as a social worker.
The former Thomas Alleyne’s High School pupil said: “The first year following the accident was the most difficult time as I didn’t have anywhere to live that I could call home and my partner had to return to his parents. It was an emotional roller-coaster for us both.
“However, in the time since the accident, I have not let the grass grow under my wheels.
“I have embraced opportunities to make a good recovery as I wanted something positive to come out of the accident.”
Now she wants to show her appreciation for the charities that helped her and help others having to face a similar situation.
Ms Tench, who was also a member of the Dove Valley Amateur Swimming Club, added: “I want to raise money for spinal research for obvious reasons as I want a cure for myself and also others in my position.
“I want to help Back Up to thank them. I have started to volunteer for them as I wanted to give something back and help people who are newly injured or getting into activities. I really want to spread awareness that there is no cure for paralysis through a spinal cord injury. As there is no cure it is about funding the research with a hope to finding one. For Back Up it is helping people lead a more fulfilling life.”
People wanting to sponsor Ms Tench for the Manchester swim are asked to visit www.justgiving.com/lizziesgreatmanchesterswimforspinalresearch or text LIZS74 £5 to 70070. For the lakes swim they are asked to visit www.justgiving.com/lizziesepiclakesswimforbackup or text LIZT74 £5 to 70070.