‘My Disability Doesn’t Define Me’
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.
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