Stevenage PE teacher's charity run after leg amputation

Stevenage PE teacher Lauren Cooper had her leg amputated after Storm Eunice accident

Stevenage PE teacher Lauren Cooper had to have her left leg amputated after a brick wall collapsed on her during Storm Eunice - Credit: East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity

A PE teacher who had to have her leg amputated after a wall collapsed on her during Storm Eunice in February has set her sights on completing a charity run to thank the NHS staff who have helped her learn to walk again.

Lauren Cooper, from Stevenage, had ventured outside during Storm Eunice to check on the condition of her car, having already lost part of her garden wall due to the storm.

Unknown to Lauren, 31, a brick wall behind her was also unstable and it collapsed, knocking Lauren over and crushing part of her left leg.

She said: “I didn’t feel the wall hit me. I was just suddenly on the concrete and my leg was trapped under the wall, but I couldn’t feel it."

Lauren had to have her left leg amputated below the knee at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, and then physiotherapy at Stevenage's Lister Hospital to learn to walk again, using her new prosthetic leg.

Inspired by the care she has received, Lauren has signed up with friends to take on the Rainbow Run – a new fun run launched by the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity to raise funds to support the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's hospitals, including Lister.

Stevenage PE teacher Lauren Cooper

Lauren is determined to complete the 5km Rainbow Run just seven months after having her leg amputated - Credit: East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity

Lauren said: “I’m an active person - a PE teacher, netball player and hiker, so I was devastated. It has been really difficult. When I first met my physiotherapist, Matt, I burst into tears, but he very calmly pulled up a chair and started talking to me.

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“I want to raise funds to thank the whole physiotherapy team. What they do is amazing. They have listened to me, laughed with me, fought my corner and given me the confidence to keep pushing on.

“They haven’t just helped me with the practical elements of learning to walk again, they have helped me mentally and genuinely care about how I am.

“When I saw the Rainbow Run advertised, I decided to give myself a challenge. I may not run it, I may walk it, but I have a great team of teacher friends who have signed up to do it with me so, one way or another, I will finish a 5k – just seven months after losing my leg!”

Stevenage PE teacher Lauren Cooper

Lauren wants to raise money to thank the physiotherapy team at Lister Hospital in Stevenage - Credit: East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity

Eloise Huddleston, the charity's director, said: “Lauren is a true inspiration. Taking on the challenge of the Rainbow Run just seven months after her accident is incredible. She is awe-inspiring and we will all be right behind her every step of the way."

The Rainbow Run is on Sunday, October 2, at Ridlins End Athletics Stadium in Stevenage and there will be 5km and 10km routes, as well as a 2.5km junior circuit, with participants encouraged to wear rainbow colours.

To sign up, visit enhhcharity.org.uk/rainbow. To sponsor Lauren, visit justgiving.com/lauren-cooper38.