We all go through difficult periods at some point in our lives. While many recover quickly, some have a very long road ahead of them.
In 2015, this 37-year-old mother of four, Riona Kelly, suffered not just one tragedy but two. While one hurt her physically the other caused mental agony.
First, Riona suffered a stroke and was paralyzed from the waist down – but it wasn’t the doctors’ diagnosis that broke her completely…
Eight years ago, Riona Kelly suffered a devastating spinal stroke. The teacher and mother of four faced her most important challenge in life – doctors warned her and said she might never walk again.
”I’d had a car accident 18 months previous and they said that could have caused problems in my spine,” Riona told The Mirror in 2017.
But the determined mother was motivated to return to work and turn her life around to be there for her kids. Sadly, she was abandoned by the man who was supposed to help her when she needed it the most. After just five days in the hospital, her husband of 14 years said he wanted a divorce.
Paralyzed and devastated, Riona lay in her hospital bed and wanted to give up. How would she raise her four children now that she could no longer care for herself?
”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,” Riona told The Mirror.
However, her ex-husband Richard claims he wanted to separate the day before Riona had her stroke and became paralyzed from the neck down.
The recovery process was a slow one, and although the doctors thought that Riona would regain movement in her legs, no one knew for sure.
But despite being close to giving up several times, she continued to fight.
”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,” Riona shared.
During her exhausting rehab journey, with hundreds of hours of physiotherapy, Riona was supported by her personal trainer Keith Mason, a former rugby league star and athlete.
The two got on very well together and began to spend more time together. Keith would often ask Riona how she was getting on, and their relationship blossomed from there.
The couple started dating and fell in love, and from being truly at rock bottom, Riona finally felt that life was worth living again. Her kids also liked Keith, and the whole family got a boost from accepting him into the family.
After four months in the hospital, Riona was finally allowed to go home. With Keith’s help and a lot of exercises, she regained movement in her legs – although she still needed her wheelchair if she wants to travel long distances.
Since her stroke, Riona has completed several marathons with the help of Keith and her wheelchair. Today, she can walk without assistance, but Riona often uses a custom-made AI frame for her legs.
During the COVID lockdowns, Keith Mason and Riona Kelly posted frequently about her recovery journey, and it inspired millions of people. The mother is truly a testament to never giving up. She and Keith proved the doctors wrong!
“The thought of us walking hand in hand around the city of York for hours was inconceivable just a few months ago, thank God for inventors, innovation and visionary’s who created Riona’s bionic legs, which have AI and the first ever to be made,” Keith wrote on Twitter in 2022, posting a video of the couple:
We proved the doctors wrong.💯♥️— Keith Mason (@KeithMasonReal) April 3, 2022
The thought of us walking hand in hand around the city of York for hours was inconceivable just a few months ago, thank God for inventors, innovation and visionary’s who created Riona’s bionic legs which have AI and the first ever to be made. pic.twitter.com/Yw9mXgTl2u
Unfortunately, it appears that Mason and Riona are perhaps no longer together.
Mason has not shared any photos of Riona in 2023, even though he hasn’t deleted any pictures either. However, Riona appears to have removed her social media accounts, where she was very active up until recently.
We hope that all is well with both of them and that they can move on and find happiness elsewhere. However, no one can take away from them their amazing journey together – thanks for letting us be part of it!
Feel free to share Riona’s story with your friends on Facebook, maybe you know someone who feels low and needs to be cheered up with a sunshine story!