"This grant has meant everything to me. Exercise has become a huge part of my life, both for my physical and mental wellbeing. I would go as far as saying it has changed my whole attitude to life. 

After a few years of personal training sessions, I finally built up the confidence to try a spin class, still worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up or perhaps even fall off. It took several beginners sessions to stop worrying and start to enjoy it. 

When lockdown hit I worried all my efforts at the gym would be wasted. The social aspect of gym classes became important to me, but now I had no choice but to switch to home workouts. My Ataxia means I am limited with my range of movements and require support for certain exercises. 

I was able to use the grant to purchase a spin bike for home use. Despite ordering a spin bike within the first week of lockdown, it seems everyone had the same idea and I would have to wait months for it to become available. Luckily, I can confirm it was well worth the wait. The bike has exceeded all of my expectations and is in a different league to the ones I’m used to using at the gym. 

The bike is extremely stable, so I feel safe using it whilst streaming workouts and tracking my cadence. With the gyms reopening later this month I feel no need to rush back whilst it isn’t 100% safe. I hope to continue regular spinning, keep my core and heart strong and my muscles active to help me live independently indefinitely. I can’t thank the Mark Dower Trust enough."

The Mark Dower Trust offers a grant to anyone with ataxia between 16 and 30 years old. Mark Dower had ataxia and was fiercely independent. This grant gives the opportunity for others to be independent too. If you would like to apply or find out more information, please visit their website here.

Contact Leanna Coleman, our Communications Officer, for more information at [email protected]