Off The Record
This Brave Woman Claims That Having A Stroke Was The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened To Her
Adversity is something we all encounter at some point in our lives. While some people are able to overcome it fully, others face a longer and more challenging road to recovery.
Meet Riona Kelly, a 37-year-old mother of four who experienced not just one, but two devastating events in 2015. One left her physically wounded, while the other tormented her mind.
Riona had a stroke that left her paralyzed from the waist down. But ironically, it wasn’t the news that she would never walk again that shattered her spirit.
Eight years ago, Riona’s life was forever changed by her stroke. As a schoolteacher and mother, she faced her greatest struggle when doctors informed her that she may never walk again.
In 2017, Riona shared with The Mirror that she had suffered a car accident 18 months prior, which may have contributed to her spinal issues.
Despite the challenges she faced, Riona’s determination to turn her life around and be there for her children led her back to the workforce.
However, her husband, who was supposed to support her during her time of need, abandoned her. Just five days into her hospital stay, he filed for divorce after 14 years of marriage.
Grief-stricken and paralyzed, Riona felt like giving up as she lay in her hospital bed. How would she be able to provide for her four kids now that she couldn’t even take care of herself?
“After my husband left me in the hospital, my friend Sarah became my next of kin. It was her and the children who supported me during my recovery. Looking back, I realized I was miserable in my marriage, but we had built a life together and had responsibilities,” Riona confided.
But Riona’s journey to reclaim her life had only just begun. Despite the odds, she held on and kept pushing forward.
The physicians remained hopeful that Riona would regain some use in her legs, but the road to recovery was long and challenging.
There were countless moments when Riona felt like giving up, but she found the strength to persevere.
“The first time I went out in a wheelchair, I felt like everyone was staring at me. I loathed it and loathed myself. If given the choice, I would have chosen to end my life. I didn’t want to go on anymore,” Riona shared.
During her grueling rehabilitation, Riona found a ray of hope in Keith Mason, a former rugby league player and her personal trainer. They quickly connected and began spending a lot of time together.
Keith constantly checked in on Riona and provided incredible support. Their bond grew stronger, and eventually, they fell in love.
Riona’s children also developed a fondness for Keith, and his presence brought a lift to the entire family.
After spending four months in the hospital, Riona was finally released. With Keith’s help and countless hours of physical therapy, she regained some mobility in her legs, although she still relies on a wheelchair for longer journeys.
Despite her physical limitations, Riona has gone on to complete multiple marathons with the aid of Keith and a special artificial intelligence frame designed for her legs.
Their story of resilience and determination during the COVID lockdowns inspired millions of people as they shared updates on social media about Riona’s remarkable recovery.
Riona’s journey serves as a reminder that when life gets tough, we can find strength within ourselves and in the support of those around us. The doctors may have been wrong about her and Keith.
“The thought of us walking hand in hand around the city of York for hours was unimaginable just a few months ago. Thank God for the inventors, innovators, and visionaries who created Riona’s bionic legs with AI, the first of its kind,” Keith expressed on Twitter in 2022, accompanied by a heartwarming video of the couple.
Unfortunately, it seems that things between Keith and Riona have taken a turn. In 2023, Keith hasn’t posted any photos of Riona, but he also hasn’t deleted any. On the other hand, it appears that Riona has deleted her once-active social media profiles.
We can only hope that both Keith and Riona are healthy and moving on to new and greater things. They have had an incredible journey together, and we feel privileged to have been a part of it.