‘My Dis­abil­ity Doesn’t De­fine Me’

Woman (UK) - - Real Life -

nancy Harris, 51, lives in Bed­ford­shire with her daugh­ter Jazz, 18

I’d been mar­ried 10 weeks when I had my ac­ci­dent. a PE teacher, I’d bro­ken my leg tram­polin­ing in oc­to­ber 1995. I had count­less in­fec­tions, and the pain was un­bear­able – then, over a year later, I was told that my leg had to be am­pu­tated. How could a sim­ple ac­ci­dent have spi­ralled into this? I cried for hours.

wak­ing up with­out a limb was harder than I could have ever imag­ined. I had to learn how to walk with a pros­thetic leg, and when I gave birth in april 1998 to my son, Ge­orge, I strug­gled to bal­ance while car­ry­ing him.

The emo­tional toll was even worse. I felt like a bur­den on my fam­ily, and when­ever I left the house, I was con­vinced ev­ery­one was star­ing, so I cov­ered my­self up with baggy black trousers.

when my daugh­ter Jazz came along in april 2000, I was still so self-con­scious. I couldn’t walk far and I was of­ten in pain. Then, in 2015, my mar­riage broke down, and I re­alised I couldn’t rely on any­one else to care for me – I had to do it my­self. I started eat­ing bet­ter and ex­er­cis­ing more.

ev­ery­thing changed

In oc­to­ber 2017, I got chat­ting with a man I met on­line. I told Steve all about my leg, and as we ar­ranged our first few dates, I went shop­ping for the bright­est dress I could find. I made sure it was short enough to show my pros­thetic leg and when I wore it to the theatre, with Steve by my side, I didn’t even care that peo­ple might be star­ing.

a year later, Steve and I have cel­e­brated our first an­niver­sary. I’ve re­trained as a coun­sel­lor and I even signed up to a mod­el­ling agency that sup­ports peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. I don’t fo­cus on the things that hold me back any more – in­stead, I look for­ward to all the won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties that I know are com­ing my way.

Nancy no longer cov­ers her­self up

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