WheelPower charity helping people reach their full potential: Read Melanie’s Story

14th September 2020

The Wernick Group is a proud supporter of WheelPower, a national charity that provides opportunities for disabled people to play sport and lead healthy active lives.

With donations from the Wheelwrights Fund, the charity is helping people like Melanie Woods participate in adaptive sports. Melanie has shared her story and told us what the Fund has meant for her.

Prior to her accident, Melanie worked as a P.E. Teacher in Glasgow. She was known to love sports and was often seen outdoors playing football, walking her dog or going to the gym. Then in January 2018, at the age of 24, Melanie was involved in a cycling accident that left her paralysed from the waist down.

For the next seven months Melanie remained in hospital undergoing rehabilitation treatments and adjusting to life in a wheelchair. Within a matter of weeks of learning about her injuries, she began watching adaptive sports. From then, Melanie was determined to stay active and get back into sport.

“I couldn’t imagine not remaining active, so I became really passionate about regaining that part of my life, albeit in a different way,” says Melanie. So, once she was out of hospital Melanie began playing tennis, joined a local athletics club, travelled to Colorado to learn how to sit ski and took part in the Inter Spinal Unit Games in 2019.

While Melanie developed a love of swimming and tennis, it was wheelchair racing that she was the most passionate about, stating “I knew instantly it was the sport for me.”

In June 2019, Melanie purchased a new racing chair but soon discovered that the old metal spoked wheels were hindering her performance. As a result, Melanie applied to the Wheelwrights Fund to help her purchase lighter and more rigid carbon fibre wheels that would enable her to compete more effectively.

By November 2019, WheelPower was able to make a donation from the Wheelwright 2020 Fund which was further increased by Wernick. Through these generous donations, Melanie was able to purchase her new wheels.

According to Melanie, the new wheels enable her to go a lot faster. “They don’t flex like my old wheels and this helps me to generate more power when hitting the push-rims,” she says, “they really have made a huge difference and I’m very excited to continue my development with the addition of my new wheels.”

While the 2020 Wheelchair Racing season had been postponed due to Covid-19, Melanie continued to train hard and has recently achieved the third-place title for the Women’s Wheelchair 400m race in the British Athletics Championship.

David Wernick, Wernick Group Executive Chairman commented: “Melanie’s story emphasises how important the funding from organisations like the Wheelwrights and Wernick provides to help these athletes. Melanie is an inspirational individual and I hope that through further support and donations from both Wernick and these incredible charities such as WheelPower that more individuals can get access to the equipment and activities they need to stay active.”

For more information about WheelPower visit: https://www.wheelpower.org.uk.

The Wheelwrights Charitable Fund works in association with the Wheelwrights. The Fund has established a partnership with the WheelPower charity.

The Fund allows those with a spinal cord injury to have the opportunity to take part in a variety of wheelchair sports including disability shooting and hand cycling. Through the Fund, people who are experiencing similar challenges can come together to play the sports they love.

The Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights’ General Charitable Trust meets three times a year. In principle, the Trust makes donations to:

  • Make a real difference for Charities that have limited funds
  • Enable mobility and access for disabled people
  • Support specific projects through which the Wheelwrights can be identified

The donations are spread across two main areas: The Affiliated Charities and the Wheelwrights’ own charity, the BattleBack Fund.

To find out more information about this charity or to make a donation visit www.wheelwrights.org.