Marathon effort after breaking back

The selfie Rebecca Hardie took just a few minutes before she fell
The selfie Rebecca Hardie took just a few minutes before she fell

A Worthing woman who broke her back last summer is preparing for the London Marathon.

Rebecca Hardie, 24, fell off the Great Wall of China will travelling solo in August.

Climbing the turret on the Great Wall of China last August

Climbing the turret on the Great Wall of China last August

“The brick gave way fully and a few bricks fell down, which caused my fall. I landed on a path about 15 feet below with bricks and rubble,” she recalled.

“I had a fractured spine and had surgery six days later to fixate it using metal and an artificial bone graft. There were fractures on both sides of my pelvis and displaced bones on my left hand.”

Rebecca, of Balcombe Avenue, was 23 at the time and had already secured a place in the 2016 London Marathon.

“When this all happened I was gutted that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but in my mind I always had the goal to still complete it somehow,” she added.

“In November, I decided I was going to definitely do it and since then I have begun training and strengthening my muscles and bones. Although I will only be walking it, I am aiming for a time of about 7½ hours.”

She will be raising money for Love Your Hospital, a charity working with Worthing, Southlands and St Richards hospitals, and particularly wants to support its cystic fibrosis fund.

“My mum is a nurse in the paediatric outpatients department and when she speaks about the children with cystic fibrosis, it makes me realise there are children and families out there living with permanent challenges,” she explained.

“I feel lucky that hopefully mine will be only temporary after sustaining this injury but seeing the impact it has on my daily life, as well as the lives of my family, has made me so much more aware of the challenges faced by others. By raising money for this charity, I hope to make things easier for the families and children.”

Rebecca, who was due to start work as a secondary school PE teacher, had met up with a tour group for a three-week visit to China. They visited an unrestored part of the Great Wall, aiming to camp there.

The journey was an hour and a half by minibus, followed by a hour’s trek along the wall, so it took some time for medical help to reach her.

She had surgery some days later, followed by weeks of rehabilitation. Her parents managed to fly out to be with her as soon as visas could be arranged.

After a month, she was flown home to Worthing Hospital and has since continued to have physiotherapy.

Visit www.justgiving.com/marathonhardie to make a donation.

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