Amy’s Story

24-year old Amy, was motivated to leave her wheelchair for the first time in two years after taking part in a Voiceability Walking Challenge in 2020.

Amy was born with Gillespie Syndrome, a very rare genetic condition, which affects the cerebella and the eyes. The condition causes difficulties with Amy’s balance and co-ordination, and so she uses a wheelchair to get about most of the time. Amy can walk short distances with a walking frame and her parents have encouraged her to do this in the past. However, in 2018 Amy injured her knee and following this she became wary of walking.

The Voiceability Walking Challenge, was a Lincolnshire wide challenge aimed at encouraging people with Learning Disabilities to become more active through walking following the first Covid lockdown.

The project was supported by Tackling Inequalities funding distributed by Active Lincolnshire.

Like the other participants, Amy was given a pedometer to track her steps and encouraged to set personal goals. The project has inspired Amy to start walking with her frame again and she gradually increased the number of steps she did each day. She averaged 15,000 steps over the 3 months, which was an amazing achievement!

When the challenge came to an end in autumn 2020, Amy was really motivated to carry on walking, and set her own goals. In November, she raised money for the British Legion on a sponsored poppy walk, completing 2k over 5 days and raising £1,500.

Her efforts have inspired others, including her mum, to improve their own fitness levels.

Amy really noticed the benefits to her health and wellbeing from walking more; She has more energy, and has lost weight, she also previously had issues with a swollen ankle which has now improved dramatically.

Amy hopes that her story will inspire others to lead a healthier life and she is trying to embed this into her work supporting people with learning disabilities, advising health professionals on supporting and communicating with people with a learning disability and creating easy read documentation.