PE teacher tackles charity event just four years after breaking back
A PE teacher from Llanfair Caereinion will cycle from London to Paris just four years after breaking her back.
In 2004 Sian Harries, 25, came within millimetres of being paralysed for life when she suffered a tragic accident on a trip to Australia, however just four years on she will now complete a 300-mile journey from London to Paris to raise funds for Spinal Research UK.
On that life defining day Sian was transported 200 miles by air ambulance to Townsville on the Great Barrier Reef Coast, and after a few days was then transferred, again by air ambulance, 800 miles south to a specialist spinal injuries unit at The Princess Elizabeth Hospital in Brisbane.
As a former Welsh Schools International athletics and cross-country athlete and basketball player, Sian said: “I was extremely lucky not to have been paralysed. The treatment I received both in Australia and back home was exceptional, and it has enabled me to continue with my career as a PE teacher and to remain actively engaged in sport.
“I want to help in some small way all the people that are less fortunate than me and contribute to the amazing work undertaken by Spinal Research UK.”
The charity funds groundbreaking research into repairing damage to the spinal cord and restoring sensation and movement to people paralysed by spinal cord injury.
More than 40,000 people in the UK are paralysed as a result of damage to the spinal cord, and around 700 more are added to this list every year.
Sian is being accompanied by her younger sister Gwennan, 20, who plays football for Bristol Academy in the Women’s Premier League, and is also in the Welsh Senior Football Team.
The cycling challenge, which starts on Wednesday, June 25, is a four-day trip, covering nearly 300 miles, so the girls have to carry out a lot of training which is proving to be easier said than done!
“Between school fixtures, after school training, playing for Newtown Netball Club and travelling back home, I have found it difficult to be able to fit the training miles in, however now that the netball season has finished and the days are getting lighter I am hoping to be able to put some early morning and late evening training rides in,” said Sian, who now lives in Tregynon.
Sian, who is the head of year eight at Ysgol Uwchradd Caereinion, has the support of all her pupils and fellow staff members.
“The year eight pupils have been enthusiastically supportive and are organising a cyclethon in the school fitness suite. The staff are equally supportive,” she added.
To sponsor the Harries sisters and help them raise their minimum target of £2,000, you can donate safely by visiting www.justgiving.com/harriesisters or send any donations made payable to Spinal Research to 4 Parc Hafod, Tregynon, SY16 3EQ.
“I am grateful to everyone who sponsors me,” said Sian, “I would like to thank Fit 4 Life in Newtown and Brooks Cycles in Welshpool for sponsoring me,” said Sian.
Sian is holding a fundraising Casino Night at COBRA Rugby Club on Friday, May 9. Tickets cost £10. Contact Sian on 07790 032953 or John or Eirian Williams on 01938 500376 for tickets.