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By Steve Hayes 23/05 Updated: 23/05 08:17
A PROMISING horse rider nearly paralysed when a horse fell on top of her is set to run four marathons after making an incredible recovery.
Melissa Shawcross fractured her spine in five places when a young horse she was training reared up and fell on top of her, trapping her underneath.
The 26-year-old was crushed by the animal as her horrified friends desperately struggled to help her.
Amazingly, the rider, got up and walked away from the accident - believing she was just winded.
But minutes later, she struggled to breathe, and lost all feeling in her arms and legs - and was rushed to Warwick Hospital.
There, medics revealed her spine was fractured and warned they did not know if she would ever walk again, let alone ride her beloved horse.
But amazingly, Melissa, who works at Feather Bed Stables in Wilmcote, defied the odds and has made an incredible recovery - leaving doctors amazed.
She is now set to run four marathons - and four half marathons - in aid of the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund (MDIRF) charity which supports injured riders.
Melissa, who has been riding since she was nine, said: "I was devastated when the doctors told me that they didn't know how bad the damage was.
"I was determined to get back on a horse though - and just a few months after the accident, I got one of my friends to help me back on my own horse, and just walked round.
"It really spurred me on and I was more determined than ever to get back to full fitness.
"My back and chest isn't completely healed, and it is still very painful - especially when it's cold or raining."
Melissa had been schooling a young horse belonging to a man she worked for when the horrific accident happened four years ago.
She continued: "I know it sounds ridiculous, but I thought I was just winded, and even got in my car to drive home.
"But after a couple of miles, I realised something really wasn't right.
"I couldn't breathe and my arms and legs were tingling.
"My recovery has been a long and difficult process, and I know how much worse things could have turned out.
"I hate running or jogging and have never done it before, but I know how lucky I am to be able to run and I decided it would be a great way to celebrate all I've achieved and raise some money for a good cause."
Visit www.justgiving.com/Melissa-Shawcross to make a donation.
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