This 3rd interview in our pre-KITP ‘5 Questions With…” series is guaranteed to inspire you.
If you have never heard of Claire Lomas, let us give you a brief introduction.
Claire used to be a top-level event (horse riding) rider, competing at an Advanced Level in British Eventing. However, in 2007, Claire had a major accident colliding with a tree, which resulted in a spinal cord injury causing paralysis from the chest down. Although Claire was making a speedy recovery, the accident left her without the use of her legs and lack of general sensation in lower part of her body.
But Claire’s story doesn’t stop there.
Claire immersed herself in new challenges. For example, she finished the 32nd Virgin London Marathon in 17 days using a robotic suit to help her walk. Other challenges include the Manchester Marathon, cycling races and much more. Claire doesn’t do this just to challenge herself and inspire others but also to raise money for her charity: Claires Challenge.
Now, without further ado, let’s get onto the interview itself!
1. Your story is very inspirational. Could you shed some light on experiences that shaped the perspective that you have today?
My life changed in a split second. Before my accident, I took a lot for granted – movement, sensation, bowel and bladder function. Now, I appreciate having the use of my arms, being able to feed myself, dress myself etc. It was the early days after my life-changing accident I decided to fundraise to help cure paralysis, and then I came up with ways of raising money and different challenges I could do. It also gave me something to focus on and feel like I was making a difference. I soon started to find all the things I could do rather than what I could no longer do. I feel fortunate for all I have today.
2. Not many people experience such a near-death experience as you did. What would be your advice on gaining perspective in every-day situations (negativity at work, family drama, failed project etc.)
It always helps me when things are tough if I think of the positive things in my life. Even in tough situations if we carry on and don’t give up it is possible things can end up better than before. Sometimes good can come from things that seem so bad.
3. How do you pick your challenges?
I try to take many different opportunities in life and not be afraid to try new things. This has led me to do the challenges I have done. I know when something feels right and then go for it.
4. What are your next plans? Another marathon?
Haha – not for a while! There may be another walk but not this year. I do have a challenge coming up though. I am aiming to ride a lap of the Isle of Man TT course on my motorbike. It is very daunting but equally exciting. Over the next few months, I will get as much experience as possible and then do some track days.
5. Is there a book, a talk, or a person who inspires you in both professional and personal life?
My trainer (Lucinda Green) from my riding days always inspires me even though I no longer ride. She was very positive and any moments when I doubted myself she would say “Just get on with it’. I still hear her voice now when I am apprehensive about something. Also, Matt Hampson who was injured playing rugby and is paralysed from the neck down. He lives life to the full and is an incredible example of how to make the most out of life no matter what life throws at you.
Feeling inspired? We sure are!
If you want to hear Claire speak, don’t forget to register for our free KITP event.
You can also follow Claire’s Twitter account to boost your feed with a ton of positivity and motivation.