independent

Saturday 19 October 2019

Angela needs support to ensure her dream does not end in ashes

Blarney equestrian hoping to fly the flag for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Angela Lyons going through her paces on horseback
Angela Lyons going through her paces on horseback
Angela Lyons with one of the many dressage trophies she has won

Bill Browne

The only high performance para equestrian rider in Munster, Angela Lyons from Blarney, is hoping that she can drum up the financial support to help her achieve her cherished ambition - to fly the Irish flag at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

However, in order to copper-fasten her participation for Ireland at the games, Angela will have to compete at a number of qualifying international events this year and next, which will entail considerable expense. 

To make her dream a reality, Angela needs financial backing to cover the cost of participating in these events and travel expenses and is hoping that the local business community will support her along the way. 

The ambitious young woman has overcome, what to many without her drive and determination would have been insurmountable hurdles, to get to the pinnacle of her chosen sport and have a shot at achieving her dream. 

Angela told The Corkman that as a teenager she show jumped to national level but, aged just 15, she broke her hip, pelvis and femur following a severe fall from a horse. 

"Chronic pain forced me to have a hip replacement quite young and it didn't go very well. My tibia nerve was torn which led to limited use of my foot and muscle damage and I thought I wouldn't ride again," she said. 

"Although I could no longer show jump, giving up riding was simply not an option so I took up dressage in 2009, which has become the sport that I love. Keeping a photo of my horse by my bed made me keep trying and it took about four years for me to get back on track and back to being competitive."

In spite of her leg injury, Angela has gone on to excel in the discipline winning almost a dozen national titles at various levels and has proudly represented Team Ireland at para equestrian dressage. 

However, Angela's challenges did not end there. Having gotten a new horse Angela was preparing for the 2012 Paralympics in London when she realised that something was not right. 

"After a year of suffering with  chronic pain, fatigue and joint stiffness I was diagnosed that with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is an incurable auto immune disease that affects all my joints, my lungs and eyes," she said. 

The indomitable spirit that spurred her on after her initial fall kicked back in action and despite intensive treatment, including low dose chemotherapy and regular injections, for reoccurring chronic pain that often left her literally unable to put one foot in front of the other, Angela kept persevering. 

"It has been a big struggle to get back on form this time. The medications have to be injected weekly and trying to find one that works has been difficult.  Through the tough times my horses and the desire to get back out competing kept me going. You need a goal in life and I have a big one - the Paralympics in Tokyo next year," said Angela. 

Now this ambitious young woman, who has defied all the odds to reach the pinnacle of her sport, is looking for a company of business person who is willing to financially support Angela on the journey that lies ahead through sponsorship. 

"I am dedicated to the sport I love and hope that I might inspire others to keep going through the hard times and never give up on your dreams," she said. 

Anyone who can help, or would like to associate their business with Angela's journey you can contact her by phone on 087 7999007 or email at angela.lyons7474@gmail.com.

Corkman

News