Sunday 19 November 2017

Paralysed Claire Lomas completes London Marathon 16 days after race began

Claire Lomas approaches the finish line at the London Marathon
Claire Lomas approaches the finish line at the London Marathon

PARALYSED woman Claire Lomas finally finished the London Marathon today, 16 days after the race began, completing the course with the aid of a bionic suit.

Ms Lomas has walked around two miles a day of the 26.2-mile route, cheered on by husband Dan, mother Joyce and 13-month-old daughter Maisie.

The 32-year-old, from Eye Kettleby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was left paralysed from the chest down following a horse riding accident in 2007.

But despite this she set off on April 22 with 36,000 people participating in the marathon. As she crossed the finishing line on The Mall today, she became the first person to complete any marathon using a bionic ReWalk suit.

So far she has raised more than £80,000 (€99,400) for Spinal Research, a charity which funds medical research around the world to develop reliable treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck.

A number of celebrities have also lent their support by walking a mile alongside her, including TV presenter Gabby Logan and husband, former international rugby star Kenny, and TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle.

But Ms Lomas will not appear in the official results or qualify to receive a medal when she finished as competitors have to finish the course on the same day to qualify for a medal.

The mother-of-one broke her neck, back and ribs and punctured a lung when her horse Rolled Oats threw her off as she took part in the Osberton Horse Trials in Nottinghamshire in 2007.

The £43,000 ReWalk suit she used for the marathon, designed by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer, enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system.

A shift in the wearer's balance, indicating their desire to take, for example, a step forward, triggers the suit to mimic the response that the joints would have if they were not paralysed.

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