Determined paralysed Stevenage teen walks last mile of Miami Half Marathon

PUBLISHED: 10:43 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:43 19 February 2020

Stevenage's Ellie Dean took on the Miami Half Marathon and left her wheelchair behind for the final mile. Picture: Andy Uttridge

Stevenage's Ellie Dean took on the Miami Half Marathon and left her wheelchair behind for the final mile. Picture: Andy Uttridge

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A “remarkable” paralysed teenager from Stevenage left her wheelchair behind for the final mile of a half marathon in the US.

Ellie Dean was left paralysed four years ago after an operation to remove a tumour in her lung, and has been undergoing an intense six-month physiotherapy course with the NeuroFit 360 team in Miami.

The 18-year-old, who lives in Great Ashby, took on the Miami Half Marathon on February 9, and took the decision to take on the final mile without the help of her wheelchair.

She said: "It was an amazing experience. I was so overwhelmed by everyone's encouragement and support on the day.

"I'm so proud of my physiotherapist Guy Romain, funded by the Rooprai Spinal Trust (RST), who did a brilliant job. He ran and helped push me 12 miles before I walked the last mile with my frame while he stood by me supporting me all the way to the finishing line."

Ellie was 14 when it was discovered she had a growth in her lung. She had an emergency operation to remove it, but complications meant she lost a lot of blood and she was placed into an induced coma.

The lack of blood to her spinal cord meant she was left paralysed from the waist down.

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Ellie, who is an artist, was forced to adapt quickly to her new circumstances to be able to study for her GCSEs.

Stevenage's Ellie Dean took on the Miami Half Marathon and left her wheelchair behind for the final mile. Picture: Andy UttridgeStevenage's Ellie Dean took on the Miami Half Marathon and left her wheelchair behind for the final mile. Picture: Andy Uttridge

She is now taking time out of her studies to concentrate on her physio with the aim of becoming stronger and more independent.

The teenager is currently spending an intense six-month trip in Miami to work with the NeuroFit 360 team, funded by the Rooprai Spinal Trust and the Frenkel Topping Foundation.

Andy Uttridge, co-founder of the RST, a charity based in Hertford, said: "As a fellow Herts resident, helping Ellie was close to our heart. She is a hardworking, determined young lady.

"Making the decision to get out of her wheelchair and walk for the last mile of the race shows what a remarkable girl she is.

Stevenage's Ellie Dean took on the Miami Half Marathon and left her wheelchair behind for the final mile. Picture: Andy UttridgeStevenage's Ellie Dean took on the Miami Half Marathon and left her wheelchair behind for the final mile. Picture: Andy Uttridge

"Every spinal cord injury is different, but everybody needs goals individual to them to strive for. This was one of Ellie's goals and she smashed it. Now on to the next one."

Ellie added: "I wouldn't have been here now taking part without the help of RST, who have always been there supporting me. They have helped put me in touch with some truly amazing people too."

For further information, visit www.rstrust.com

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