FEATURE: Inspirational Stradbroke blogger set to feature in documentary

Rachel Edwards, of Stradbroke, will be featured in a documentary and complete a sponsored swim as she battles back from an accident which left her paralysed. ANL-150814-171619001

Rachel Edwards, of Stradbroke, will be featured in a documentary and complete a sponsored swim as she battles back from an accident which left her paralysed. ANL-150814-171619001

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In February the Diss Express caught up with an inspirational Stradbroke woman, who had battled back from being paralysed, following a fall brought on by her bipolar.

And six months on, Rachel Edwards has made even further progress.

Rachel Edwards, of Stradbroke. ANL-150814-172032001

Rachel Edwards, of Stradbroke. ANL-150814-172032001

Earlier this year, she began a blog, telling of her life-changing story, hoping it would raise awareness of mental health issues, bipolar, and spinal injuries.

Nearly six ago, aged 19, she jumped 50ft from a fourth floor balcony in London believing that she could fly. Five months of rehabilitation and recovery in hospital followed, and she was told she would never walk again. Hard work in the gym now means she is able to take steps with the aid of crutches, although she uses a wheelchair most of the time.

Her blog has had more than 10,000 views and the north Suffolk resident has been invited to write for adult and children mental health charity blogs, and she is set to appear in a documentary about bipolar at the start of next year.

“I would say I am really happy with the way things are, and so far I have been able to help so many people,” explained the 24-year old.

Rachel Edwards ANL-150218-100843001

Rachel Edwards ANL-150218-100843001

“People have been messaging me saying they have found comfort in what I am writing.

“Plus it has made me realise that I really enjoy writing.”

Rachel said she wanted her story to aid others; and following a 12-week course, she became a qualified peer support mental health worker.

The search for her first full-time job since the accident has now begun.

“I am really looking forward to having a job,” she said. “It would be my first job since my accident and I finally feel I am getting somewhere.

“I can use my experience to help others, and to inspire others and show them how they can recover, because I have recovered.

“There has been quite a lot of set backs over the last six years but I am really looking forward to being independent, and moving out — I’m looking for houses.”

Rachel also hopes to help raise funds later this year, for Aspire, a charity close to her heart following her accident.

Currently in the process of applying to take part and awaiting the green light from the hospital about a foot injury, the Aspire Channel Swim challenges participants to swim the length of the English Channel — 22 miles — over the course of 12 weeks, from September 14 to December 7.

The national charity provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury.

“Every eight hours, someone is paralysed from a spinal injury,” said Rachel.

“I have had some rehabilitation at the Aspire Centre in London so I really wanted to raise some money, because I know how important having a wheelchair is.

“I would love to raise as much as I can. If you raise £3,000, you could buy someone a wheelchair.

“I used to be a life guard so I have always been quite a good swimmer, and I used to swim everyday, so I am actually quite good at it. Although I can’t kick my feet, I use mainly my arms and it is all about upper strength.

“Doing this swim really means a lot to me. I know what it’s like to be that person, and the equipment these people use is really key to their recovery.”

Read the blog at www.rachelholly90.wordpress.com