Husband Sees Paralyzed Wife 1 Year After Leaving Her


Wedding Vows

When you get married, you make a vow to stay with your partner through all the good and the bad times. Although it might not be easy, you should know what you’re signing yourself up for.

Some people treat their vows like they’re written in stone while others treat them like they’re just words. Riona Kelly out about this the hard way.

Kelly and Richard

Instagram / Riona Kelly

Kelly and Richard had been married for fourteen years and had four beautiful children together. 17-years old Leighanra, 12-years-old Caleb, 10-year-old Izabela and six-year-old Logan. Kelly was an amazing mother. She was extremely active and present in her children’s lives. She was physically active and loved to exercise regularly and to cook delicious and healthy meals.

Everyone thought they were the perfect family. But people would soon discover that that was far from the truth.

Spinal Stroke


Tragically, when Kelly was just 37-years-old, she suffered a spinal stroke that paralyzed her from the waist down. These strokes occur when there is a disruption in blood supply to the spinal cord.

Without a supply of blood, the spinal cord cannot function properly and thus, injury or damage to tissue can occur. This can block nerve impulses from traveling along the spinal cord.

Car Accident

Instagram / Riona Kelly

Only 1.25% of strokes are spinal. But sadly for Kelly, she was one of very few unlucky people that were told they would never be able to walk again, because of this stoke. Speaking about the day it happened, Kelly recalls, “I was at home one day with Logan, I can’t remember exactly what happened but I fell down a complete flight of stairs and Logan had to call for help,”

She continues, “I’d had a car accident 18 months previous and they said that could have caused problems in my spine. But other than that I was a fit and healthy woman and there was no other reason why this would happen.”

Even Worse


As if things weren’t bad enough, just five days after her heartbreaking stroke, her husband left her and their kids. Without him, the only people Kelly had that could provide help and support were her family and the hospital staff. What would you do if you were in her position?

Not only had this tragic event change her entire life, she had also lost the person she needed the most. It was clear that she was in a tough spot.

But How?


Speaking about the moment he decided to leave their family, Kelly says, “It was the time I needed my husband the most. Looking back, I was miserable in my marriage, but we had built a life together and had responsibilities.”

One of those responsibilities was providing for and looking after their children. How was she going to do this now that she was paralyzed and without her husband? She was depressed, panicked and scared.

Long Recovery


On the fifth day of her hospital stay, they informed her that it could take anywhere between six months and a year for her to recover from this. “At the time I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to be strong for my children,” she recalls sadly.

“The first time I went out in a wheelchair I thought everyone was looking at me, I hated it and hated myself. If someone had given me the choice I would have ended my life, I didn’t want to live anymore.” She continued.

The Impossible


“But the other patients on the ward were amazing, I received so much support from them and they encouraged me to get out of bed every day,” She smiled. Kelly had spent so many hours in physio before she miraculously was able to take her first step on the parallel bar. This was only two weeks after doctors informed her that she would probably never be able to walk again.

She speaks about it with pride and deep emotion, “I was dragging my body and I had no feeling in my legs but I didn’t care,” she said. “I was walking and that’s all that mattered.”

Keith Mason


It was only a few months later when she decided to search for a personal trainer on Facebook. She was doing well, but she knew she wanted more help. That was when Keith Mason stepped in. She speaks about Keith and says, “No personal trainers wanted to work with me, but somebody recommended that Keith did a little bit in his spare time.”

That was how she ended up working with Keith, but she had no idea what would happen next.

Impressive Man

Instagram / Riona Kelly

Not only was Mason a personal trainer, but he also had a 14-year rugby career behind him. During those 14-years, he played for four Super League teams.

He then had a career in acting before moving on to personal training. She accomplished a lot with him, and said, “but at the same time I found an affordable physio and so I left the personal trainer as it was too much for me.” But it was not the end.

Something More


“And then one day Keith asked me out for coffee and we picked up from where we left off,” Kelly said. “I just couldn’t believe a gorgeous rugby player wanted to date a disabled woman like me.”

They had a bond that went well beyond that of trainer and client — they had found love. Kelly credits a lot of her progress to the amazing support system she has at home with her family, friends, and of course newfound love, Keith.

Baby Steps

Instagram / Riona Kelly

“Keith says I inspire him, but he encourages me every day and understands and sees the pain that I am in,” Kelly said.

“He has been amazing with me and the children and I love him more each and every day. I thank the lord for bringing my soul mate into my life. Apart from my children I have never loved anyone the way that I love my best friend. He’s shown me the true meaning of a loving relationship. A relationship that’s strong. That works in harmony. That compromises. That’s loyal and true and above all a relationship that just works so perfectly.”

Making Strides


Physically, Kelly is also progressing in leaps and bounds. “I now only need my wheelchair to go long distances but my home hasn’t been adapted so I try not use it,” she said.

“I’m now back in the gym, and with Keith’s help I’m getting better and stronger than ever.” She has since completed two marathons with her wheelchair and continues to raise funds for spinal cord/stroke research. In fact, they’ve started their own charity!

Giving Back


The name of it is Go Pink, which focuses on fitness and nutrition, particularly for those with physical disabilities. Together, the pair also acts as ambassadors for various other disability-related charities such as Para-dance and Wakefield Trinity Physical Disabilities Rugby League.

While she has a very full plate, she also still have some issues — difficulty with her legs, including nerve issues, and she’ll have a disability for the rest of her life. But oddly enough, she wouldn’t change a thing.

The Happy Ending

Instagram / Riona Kelly

“After my stroke I thought my life was over, but it’s only just beginning and has opened so many wonderful doors,” she said. “I’ve signed up with Models of Diversity and have just landed my first TV commercial.” “I used to struggle accepting help but now I welcome it as it helps me to keep moving forward,” Kelly wrote on Instagram.

“We can’t always do everything on our own with no help and support. Being the bigger and stronger person is to admit when we need help and accept it off of the right people.” And who knows? You might just find true love.