“You can’t control a situation, but you can control how you respond to it.”
These are the inspirational words of amputee Lauren Cooper, who suffered a potentially life-changing injury as a result of Storm Eunice in February 2022.
Lauren, a netball-loving PE teacher from Stevenage, had ventured outside during Storm Eunice to check on the condition of her car, having already lost part of her garden wall due to the storm.
Unbeknown to Lauren, a brick wall – which was providing structural support to an adjacent wall positioned behind her – was also in an unstable condition.
What followed was described by the 31-year-old as a blur:
“I didn’t feel the wall hit me, I was just suddenly on the concrete, and my leg was trapped under the wall. In what I can only describe as a blur, I was just looking at my leg thinking “my legs under there” but I couldn’t feel it. It must’ve only been a second or so, but it felt like I was looking at my leg for a long time.”
Lauren had been knocked over by the force of the brick post and part of her leg was crushed underneath.
She was taken to A&E at Lister Hospital, before being transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she had her left leg amputated below the knee. She then started physiotherapy at Lister Hospital in Stevenage to learn to walk again, using her new prosthetic leg.
Lauren, who has documented her ‘limbitless road to recovery’ on social media platform Instagram, speaks fondly of the relationships she has with physiotherapists at Lister:
“What they do is amazing. They have listened to me, laughed with me, fought my corner and given me the confidence to keep pushing on.
“They haven’t just helped me with the practical elements of learning to walk again, they have also helped me mentally and genuinely care about how I am.
“They know when I am down and can spot the signs if I’m not quite myself. Their help, guidance and messages of support have made all the difference.”
After numerous surgeries, attempts to save her leg and months of physiotherapy following the eventual amputation, Lauren has set her eyes on a new challenge – a fun run launched by East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity to help hospitals at East and North Hertfordshire’s NHS Trust go above and beyond for their patients.
Lauren said: “When I saw the Rainbow Run advertised, I decided to give myself a challenge. I may not run it, I may walk it, but I have a great team of teacher friends that have signed up to do it with me so one way or another, I will finish a 5k – just seven months after losing my leg!”
Eloise Huddleston, director of East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Lauren is a true inspiration. Taking on the challenge of the Rainbow Run just seven months after her accident is incredible. She is awe-inspiring and we will all be right behind her every step of the way. Good luck, Lauren!”
The Rainbow Run takes place on Sunday 2 October at Ridlins End Athletics Stadium in Stevenage, promising to be ‘Hertfordshire’s most colourful run fun’. If you have been inspired by Lauren’s story and want to sign up, or donate, go to: www.enhhcharity.org.uk/rainbow and to sponsor Lauren, visit: www.justgiving.com/lauren-cooper38.