19/09/2019

Faces of the Ad: Meet Kirsty

kirsty rows on a rowing machine

Meet Kirsty, one of the stars of our launch advert. Here's her story in her own words...

The real world has people with impairments. It has people who are large and people who are small.

Bodies are different and I think we should all have the chance to feel beautiful and love ourselves without the social pressures or expectations of beauty impacting on that.

Women in particular should be empowering each other and lifting each other up because we’ve still got a long way to go.

I’m in a place now where I’m active and happy but it’s been a long journey and I’ve had to come through a lot of anxiety.

Ever since having my disability, particularly my arm amputation, I have struggled with body image. Not just how I see myself but I overthink and worry about how other people see me.

I’ve had negativity from strangers in the street and have had to deal with people staring at me on a daily basis and I have had to just keep going.

It makes you have negative thoughts and I worried that people thought I was ugly or weird.

It impacted me massively and I started having anxiety attacks. That was one of the biggest barriers to me getting back into sport and physical activity after my accident.

I struggled to go to the gym and struggled to go out for a walk because I couldn’t cope with how people were looking at me.

But I was lucky.

I had a select few supportive friends who understood it, they coached me along, helped me, took time out of their schedules to come to the gym and get me used to it again.

I knew that, as soon as I started, I’d be fine and I would start feeling good again.

It’s just those first hurdles, getting yourself to the class, to the gym or just getting out and going for a walk. Whatever it might be.

Just push yourself to do it because, when you do, you will feel so much better.

It was a battle with myself. I’d always been sporty and I knew I needed to do more and missed doing so much as well. But every time I tried to do more I would have a lot of pain or I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

But I worked through it all with my doctor and tried to find ways to do things and gradually I would try all different things and, if someone said I couldn’t do something, it’d just make me more determined to do it.

Since then I’ve tried all sorts of different sports and activities. I used to run a lot when I was younger but I’ve given that up now because there is too much pain.

It’s sad but there’s always something else out there.

I do a lot of weights but I think I always missed the competitive element to sport so, since being on the Parasport advert, I’ve used the website and I’ve recently joined a rowing club and have competed, and won, at my first regatta.

I had no idea how to row but now I’ve had a few sessions on the water and am a British Rowing member and I’ve found a sport that I actually love.

Where I used to get pain running, rowing is completely different. I don’t experience any pain at all and it feels like I don’t have a disability.

The feeling of freedom I get from it is incredible so my advice to people would be to just try different things and find the sport you love and that you can do without too much pain because it will help you in every area of life.

 

To watch the ad, visit our Youtube channel.