Meet Riona Kelly, who was dumped by her husband 5 days after she was paralyzed by a spinal stroke. The mother of 4 was paralyzed from the waist down. She didn’t let both tragedies bring her down. Riona defied the doctor’s predictions that she would never walk again. She was left completely alone in a wheelchair and hated herself. She started her physic and also looked for a personal trainer. She got introduced to Keith Mason through a friend. They started working out together and slowly Riona got stronger than ever before. She took her first steps and even started jumping! Since gaining the strength, Riona has completed two marathons. If that’s not enough to uplift you, she found love with the same personal trainer. They live together with their children. Now she only needs her wheelchair for long distance. It’s true that couples who train together stay together. Here’s Riona’s heartbreaking yet uplifting story!
Her Husband Left Just 5 Days After Her Stroke
Riona Kelly and her husband had been together for fourteen years. After she had a stroke in 2015, she was left paralyzed, with no mobility below her waist. The doctors confirmed that there wasn’t even the slightest chance she would ever walk again. As if her world hadn’t been turned upside down as it was, her husband then filed for divorce only five days later. “After he asked me for a divorce I was left completely alone.”
Left Heartbroken And All Alone
Her husband, Richard, claimed that he actually told her he wanted a divorce in the morning on the day of her stroke. He said, ‘While she was in the hospital I visited as much as I could of an evening, I had to take care of the children, look after the house and run a business. I lived in the house with Riona and the kids until last June before I eventually moved out, and we have now both moved on.’
Riona remembered, “After my husband left me in hospital, my friend, Sarah, became my next of kin, it was her and the children that supported me during my recovery. Looking back I was miserable in my marriage, but we had built a life together and had responsibilities. It was the time I needed my husband the most.” Ms. Kelly was determined to continue living her life despite feelings of betrayal.
The Courage To Turn Her Life Around
She and her children, Leighanra, 16, Caleb, 11, Izabela, 9, and Logan, 5, are now moving on with their journey together after now 35-year-old former rugby league player Keith Mason turned it all around for her. Riona said, “After five days in hospital I was told it would take me six months to a year to recover”. “
I put a post on Facebook last January looking for a personal trainer to help me and some friends suggested that I get in touch with Keith.” Just eight weeks after the stroke, Riona took her first assisted steps in physical therapy, training with Kieth. She said, “At the time I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to be strong for my children and so when I finally took my first steps it felt amazing.”
She knew that she had a long road of healing in front of her, not only for her body but for her heart too. Ms. Kelly said, “After suffering a stroke not only did I have to deal with paralysis but I had to deal with losing my partner of 14 years.” The scariest part at the beginning was adjusting to her wheelchair. She said, “The first time I went out in a wheelchair I thought everyone was looking at me, I hated it and hated myself.“If someone had given me the choice I would have ended my life, I didn’t want to live anymore.” At first, she found strength through the support of her children and her friend Sarah.
The Dream Guy
‘I just couldn’t believe a gorgeous rugby player wanted to date a disabled woman like me.’ Keith, a physical therapist who has a five-year-old daughter, Kalani, from a previous relationship, was referred to her by Facebook friends when she was still in the hospital. Ms. Kelly said, “Keith wanted to make a difference.”
A real man will always take care of his queen❤️ #love #support #grateful #mygirl #fighter #faith #photooftheday #loyalty #nevergiveup #staystrong #king #queen #dream #fighttogether #fitness”
“After our sessions, Keith and I stayed in contact, he would ask me how I was getting on and our relationship blossomed from there.” “And then one day Keith asked me out for coffee and we picked up from where we left off.” “We have now been together for 11 months, the children really like him and I finally feel like I’m living the life I deserve.”
She Lifts More Than You
With the help of her wheelchair, Ms. Kelly has since completed two marathons. She said, “Keith says I inspire him, but he encourages me every day…” “I now only need my wheelchair to go long distances but my home hasn’t been adapted so I try not use it.” Recently, she’s been posting videos of her leg workouts on her Instagram that truly show how far she’s come since her stroke.
You never know what life has in store next for you. At any moment, we could be met with tragedy, heartbreak, luck, love, and even miracles. She added, “I was at home one day with Logan, I can’t remember exactly what happened but I fell down a complete flight of stairs and Logan had to call for help.”
It was a miracle that her son was with her when she fell so she could be rushed to the hospital. At first, she was told she would never walk again. Then she was told that she’d be able to take her first steps in physical therapy in six weeks, but six weeks came and went and she still couldn’t feel anything. It was a miracle that eight weeks after she was rushed to the hospital, she could finally take her first steps.
Riona said, ‘It was at this point that doctors told me I would never walk again. I’d had a car accident 18 months previous and they said that could have caused problems in my spine.”But other than that I was a fit and healthy woman and there was no other reason why this would happen.
‘ Her positivity drove her throughout her physical therapy as she took her first steps on a parallel bar just two weeks after when the doctors estimated she’d be able to. She added “I was dragging my body and I had no feeling in my legs but I didn’t care, I was walking and that’s all that mattered.
‘The other patients on the ward were amazing, I received so much support from them and they encouraged me to get out of bed every day.”My consultant was very emotional, he couldn’t believe I had done it with the help of a standing frame.’ She was determined to get back to living her life as she did before. She said, ‘Every day I built up my strength and after four months in the hospital, I was finally allowed to go home.’ ‘It took me 25 minutes to get up 16 steps, and the same time to come back down again, but I was determined to do it for my children.’
‘He has been amazing with me and the children and I love him more each and every day.’ They are complete relationship goals in this comeback story. Riona added, ‘Looking back, going through what I did was the best thing to ever happen to me.
‘ It takes an amazing person to be so positive about a life changing disability.’I’m now back in the gym, and with Keith’s help, I’m getting better and stronger than ever.’ Keith, a bit of a fitness freak, has been there each step of the way to motivate her and make fitness part of her everyday lifestyle. Now, she’s turned a nightmare into a dream.
She went on to say, ‘After my stroke, I thought my life was over but it’s only just beginning and has opened so many wonderful doors, I’ve signed up with Models of Diversity and have just landed my first TV commercial.’
“I can’t believe just how far my story has reached. It’s WORLD WIDE!!! Absolutely incredible & the support is just unbelievable! Today’s just amazing! From my story reaching all corners of the world BIG modelling offers are coming in fast & there’s serious names on the table! It’s just amazing. I decided to become a disabled model to show all the beautiful women in the world that anything is possible & never let anything stop you from achieving your dreams. With my amazing king @keithmason106 by my side & @modelsofdiversity as my agent anything is possible! I’ve got the best team in the world behind me #❤️ #motivationalspeaker #model #disabled #diversity #blessed #strength #paralysed #inspire #king #queen #support #worlddomination #fitness #fitnessmodel #fitnessmotivation #clothes #bignames #deals #tv #commercials #tvshows #interviews”