A COFTON Hackett wheelchair racer, who represented her country in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, has thanked the physiotherapy team who helped her get there.

In 2012 Lauren Rowles lost the use of her legs when she was affected by transverse myelitis, a rare disease of the central nervous system.

But the 16-year-old did not let the paralysing illness stop her from striving for sporting success, as she discovered the need for speed.

After winning the U17 Girls three-mile race at the Virgin London Mini Marathon in April, she was selected to race in the T55 1500 metres at the games.

Lauren, a member of University of Warwick wheelchair racing club, achieved ninth in her final that was held at Hampden Park.

While enjoying the success the North Bromsgrove High School pupil has not forgotten the vital work of the Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust’s Community Paediatric Physiotherapy service that supported her.

Paediatric physiotherapists work with children and young people up to 19-years-old who have mobility difficulties and pain.

They help improve movement skills and support a patient through rehabilitation following trauma or surgery.

Members of the physiotherapy team were able to make the trip up to Scotland to support Lauren in her event at the end of July.

“It was massive honour to be selected," Lauren said.

"I thank my physiotherapists, Rachel Schieber and Alex Webster, most of all because without them I wouldn't be racing at the Glasgow Games or racing at all.

"With their on-going support and help I have gone from being totally dependent on a carer to now being totally independent which has enabled me to do amazing things in my life.”

Lauren's Mum, Natalie, added that the team's support helped her to be strong and encourage her daughter.

Rachel Schieber, team leader for Community Paediatric Physiotherapy Redditch and Bromsgrove Locality, said: “We are in a unique and privileged position as paediatric physiotherapists to be able to support not only the patient but the family and I feel part of our success is measured by having functional families.

"Lauren's experience has contributed to our push to encourage our young people to participate in sport as a way of improving health, wellbeing and self-esteem."

For more on the service visit hacw.nhs.uk.

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