Paralyzed woman finds love with the man who helped her to walk again
When you have a stroke, and are in the hospital bed fearing paralysis, the last thing you need is the collapse of your marriage. But for 37-year-old Riona Kelly, that is exactly what happened. Her husband informed her that he wanted a divorce while she was paralyzed from the waist down, suffering a spinal stroke, laying in a hospital bed.
They had been together for 14 years, and Ms. Kelly's husband insists that he informed her of his intent the day before she had her stroke. Either way, she was left alone with her children, her paralyzed body, and a new life to build from scratch.
She had four children, Leighanra, Caleb, Izabela and Logan. They needed their mother. And day by day, she was working to regain her ability to walk. Rigorous physical training was designed to get her out of a wheelchair and onto her feet. Today, Riona can walk just fine with the aid of crutches.
And it's all thanks to her new lover, a former Rugby player turned physical trainer, the man who taught her how to walk again - Keith Mason.
Ms. Kelly had a lot to say about her situation.
"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. After he asked me for a divorce I was left completely alone. After five days in the hospital, I was told it would take me six months to a year to recover.
"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. 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.
"After our sessions Keith and I stayed in contact, he would ask me how I was getting on and our relationship blossomed from there. 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."
Reflecting on her 2015 stroke was difficult:
"It was the time I needed my husband the most."
It's an inspiring story of physical recovery against all the odds, and an abandoned mother finding her future in the incident that seemed to take it away. In the end, Ms. Kelly considers it the best thing that ever happened to her. She got out of a doomed marriage and found someone she was truly in love with.
Mason has one daughter of his own, so now their families are together as one, bigger and happier than ever before.
"One day Keith asked me out for coffee and we picked up from where we left off. I just couldn't believe a gorgeous rugby player wanted to date a disabled woman like me. Keith says I inspire him, but he encourages me every day and understands and sees the pain that I am in. He has been amazing with me and the children and I love him more each and 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. Looking back, going through what I did was the best thing to ever happen to me. I'm now back in the gym, and with Keith's help I'm getting better and stronger than ever. 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."
We're glad to see how well things have turned out.