PE teacher from Stevenage who lost leg in Storm Eunice walks 5km for charity after leg amputation

Lauren Cooper Credit: ITV News Anglia

A woman who had to have her leg amputated following an injury in Storm Eunice has decribed the "life-changing" impact of her injury.

Lauren Cooper, a 31-year-old PE teacher, had ventured outside during the storm in February to check on the condition of her car, having already lost part of her garden wall.

A brick wall behind her was also unstable and it collapsed, knocking her over and crushing part of her left leg.

She said: "I didn't feel the wall hit me. I was just suddenly on the concrete and my leg was trapped under the wall, but I couldn't feel it.

"Being someone who is sporty by job, by choice, it was literally life-changing."

Ms Cooper had to have her left leg amputated below the knee at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, and then physiotherapy at Stevenage's Lister Hospital to learn to walk again, using her new prosthetic leg.

Just seven months later, she signed up with friends to take on the 5k Rainbow Run at Ridlins End Athletics Stadium in Stevenage. The event is a new fun run launched by the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity to raise funds to support local hospitals, including Lister.

Ms Cooper said: "It was to thank the physio team for everything that they've done - not just the physical part of actually getting me up walking again, but the mental part as well.

"They really help boost confidence and they do a lot to help me so it seemed like the best way to say thank you."

Lauren Cooper walking towards the Rainbow Run finish line with friends. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Eloise Huddleston, the charity's director, said: "We're really impressed with Lauren to be able to take on this challenge just seven months after her accident. She's worked so hard with the team, and to be able to do a challenge like this is incredible, and also to support the local hospital charity and raise funds as well, we're so grateful to her."

Ms Cooper's progress has astounded her medical team.

One of her physiotherapists, Matt Alexander, joined her at the Rainbow Run in support.

He said: "It's very unusual, nobody that I've worked with in the last four years has ever been at this stage so early on, so she's doing brilliantly."

"It's not been a smooth, nice straightforward journey for her, but she's never given up. Even mentally she's been knocked down, she's got back up and gone again, hence why she is where she is."

Lauren Cooper walking next to friends and physiotherapist Matt Alexander. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Ms Cooper said: "I'm an active person - a PE teacher, netball player and hiker, so I was devastated. When I first met my physiotherapist, Matt, I burst into tears, but he very calmly pulled up a chair and started talking to me."

Ms Cooper has also returned to work part-time as a PE teacher.

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