Former bravery honoured police ofﬁcer, Nicki Donnelly, founder of www.nickidonnelly.co.uk, motivational speaker, life coach and ﬁtness model set up her own fundraising webpage because, she says: “I got tired of being turned down for work for being ‘disabled’.” Here she tells Able Magazine her story and about returning to the Parallel London event in September.
I was born with a degenerative bone and joint disease and Elhers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disease and progressive debilitating condition that impacts mobility. At a later stage, I was also diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia that is linked with severe stages of EDS.
I wanted to prove to everyone that I wasn’t going to waste away. I started playing every sport from hockey, netball, baseball, track and ﬁeld, football, swimming and tennis – I was determined to be included and prove my teachers wrong. At the age of 18, my childhood dream of becoming a police ofﬁcer became a reality. I joined the Police Force where I went from strength to strength, pushing my boundaries, testing my body, physically and mentally.
Unfortunately, in 2009, I was injured by a speeding car while on duty. I sustained a host of injuries – fracturing my shoulder, collar bone, wrist, jaw and arms; breaking my back, hip and pelvis as well as incurring brain damage. I spent two years living in a brain and spinal injuries specialist hospital away from my family. I was ultimately left paralysed from the chest down with limited function in my hands and ﬁngers. Following the incident, at the age of 28, I retired from the West Midlands Police with six bravery commendations.
Working with charities and initiatives such as the Disabled Police Association has helped with the transition to civilian life. At Parallel London 2016, I was recognised as ‘Robocop’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ after becoming the ﬁrst police ofﬁcer in the UK to walk in a bionic suit. I trained to walk for seven weeks and achieved my daughter’s 10th birthday wish by walking with her in the inaugural Parallel London 2016 race. We both walked together in the 1km distance and it took me 50 minutes.
Unfortunately, I am no longer able to use the suit as I have been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition so for Parallel London 2017, I will be rolling in my wheelchair and raising awareness for spinal cord injury, with my daughter raising awareness for invisible disabilities.
Parallel London has become the start of a mother and daughter tradition as my daughter gets to celebrate her birthday and, in return, she gets her gift which is to have her mum take part with her.
Join us for Parallel London at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 3 September 2017.
For more information and sign-up details visit: www.parallellondon.com