Lisa Bradley, a 28-year-old wheelchair-bound woman has managed to walk down the aisle unaided after beating a crippling spinal disease which causes cysts to develop in the spinal cord - by becoming a bodybuilder.
Following her diagnosis, she could barely lift herself out of bed and needed 24-hour care.But when a series of operations and daily cocktail of drugs failed to ease her constant pain she decided on a completely new approach and struggled to the gym.
The mother-of-three worked with a personal trainer and began lifting tiny weights but was soon pulling off squats, bench presses and bicep curls as her symptoms eased.
In just six months she shed 10 dress sizes & her growing strength combated her illness.
Mrs Bradley said: ‘It was amazing to be able to walk down the aisle - I nearly ran it. I had no pain whatsoever and felt so confident. My GP is completely amazed and can’t believe the difference in me.
‘My condition got so severe, it would hurt if I sneezed or moved my toes. I needed assistance for everything, even moving in bed.
Mrs Bradley was diagnosed with syringomyelia in 2009 after suffering years of chronic back pain and shaking in her legs. It causes cysts to develop in her spinal cord causing pain, muscle weakness and even paralysis
‘I no longer have any pain and have come off my medication - and it’s all down to pumping iron.’
Symptoms usually develop slowly over time and include muscle weakness, decreased sensitivity to pain, loss of reflexes, stiffness, pain and numbness.
It is not known exactly what causes it but it can result from meningitis, spinal cord tumours and injuries.
Mrs Bradley underwent two major spinal operations, including one to drain fluid from a cyst in her spine, but her body became frail and ballooned to a size 22 because of the lack of exercise.
At the height of her illness she was forced to endure regular painkilling injections and was on a daily cocktail of tablets, patches and injections.
When she got engaged, she decided to try and improve her health so she started going to the gym. Starting with very small weights, she gradually built up her strength
Mrs Bradley says that as a result of her workouts she is no longer in pain and is able to walk again
She now intends to keep up her training for life because it’s the only thing keeping her condition at bay.
In fact, she’s so proud of her new muscles she’s entering a bodybuilding show next year.
‘I feel like it’s saved my life. I can do everything I want with my kids and am able to get the most out of life.
Mrs Bradley sought help from top personal trainer Joe Binley, who specialises in training bodybuilders on how to eat healthily and get into shape for contests.
Joe, based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said: ‘Lisa is one of the most dedicated people I’ve dealt with.
‘She has a deep rooted determination to succeed. In a scenario when most would quit Lisa has chosen to fight.’
This is such an incredible story and absoluely proves that fitness needs to be a lifestyle! Though Lisa's circumstance is extreme, it is the ultimate example that maintenance is key. For all our BodyRockers that need help with that maintenance, we're here for you.