Five Days After She Was Paralyzed, Her Husband Left Her. Now, She Can Walk Again


When a couple gets married, it’s supposed to be in sickness and in health until death do you part, but for one woman named Riona Kelly, this was sadly not the case. At just 37 years old, a spinal stroke paralyzed her from the waist down. Doctors said she was unlikely to ever walk again.

Then, as if the trauma of the stroke and being told she would never walk again wasn’t enough, her husband of 14 years left her and their four children after just five days in the hospital. Without her partner by her side, Kelly had to rely on friends and hospital staff to get her through this tragic time.

However, Kelly’s story wasn’t over yet, and her life was about to change and become better than it ever had been before after meeting trainer Keith Mason.

“It was the time I needed my husband the most,” Kelly confessed about the moment he decided to walk out, but added, “Looking back, I was miserable in my marriage, but we had built a life together and had responsibilities.”

Kelly explained that learning to use a wheelchair and continue her life as a mother was difficult.”If someone had given me the choice I would have ended my life, I didn’t want to live anymore,” she said.

But Kelly was determined to defy doctors and continued with her physical rehabilitation. It was during this process that she met trainer and former Rugby League player Keith Mason.

“No personal trainers wanted to work with me, but somebody recommended that Keith did a little bit in his spare time,” she explained. “That’s how I ended up training with Keith.”

It’s a good thing she did because the pair ended up falling head over heels for one another! Together, Kelly has also learned how to stand, take her first steps, and even climb stairs again, leaving doctors dumbfounded at her progress.

“I now only need my wheelchair to go long distances but my home hasn’t been adapted so I try not use it,” Kelly said. “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.”

Kelly has also started the charity Go Pink, which focuses on fitness and nutrition, particularly for those with physical disabilities. The pair also acts as ambassadors for various other disability-related charities such as Para-dance and Wakefield Trinity Physical Disabilities Rugby League.

Kelly does still have some difficulty with her legs, including nerve issues, and will have a disability for the rest of her life, but she is totally fine with how things have turned out. Her partner has shown her that her abilities are truly limitless.

“He’s shown me that I can go on to do whatever I want to do. You want to model – you can do it, you want to set up your own company – you can do it, you want to be a motivation speaker – you can do it. Everything I’ve said I want to do, I’m doing it,” Kelly said.

Riona Kelly really is an inspiration and proves that even the most tragic of situations can have a happy ending.

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