‘Thank you for pushing me through the pain’: Alton Towers amputee Leah Washington praises her trainer as she shares video of herself running on her £60K prosthetic leg at her ‘best track session so far’
- Leah Washington lost a leg in the Smiler rollercoater crash in June 2015
- Now 21, the amputee documents her rehabilitation journey on social media
- Fitted with a prosthetic leg that’s allowed her to dance, trampoline and climb
- Shared footage of her ‘best track session so far’ on Instagram this week
The woman who lost a leg in the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash has shared footage of her ‘best track session so far’ on her prosthetic limb – and thanked her trainer for ‘pushing me through the pain’.
Leah Washington, from South Yorkshire, was forced to have her left leg amputated after sustaining serious injuries in the horror smash on the theme park’s Smiler ride as a teenager in June 2015. She was on her first proper date with her boyfriend Joe Pugh, who was also injured in the crash.
Now 21, Leah documents her rehabilitation journey on Instagram, and has posted a clip in which she’s seen running on a race track on her £60,000 prosthetic leg, as her trainer, Carolyn Hirons, runs alongside in support.
‘Thanks to Carolyn for pushing me through the pain and getting me to where I am now,’ Leah wrote in the caption she posted with the clip.
Alton Towers Smiler crash survivor Leah Washington, 21, from Yorkshire, has praised her trainer Carolyn for helping her achieve her best track run to date in a new video shared to her Instagram account
Donning a grey tracksuit and a black vest with her hair tied back, Leah can be seen sprinting down the track followed by her trainer, who is part of the team at the specialist Pace Rehabilitation Centre.
Leah’s thousands of followers were enthusiastic in their praise for the progress she’s made since being forced to relearn how to walk with the prosthetic leg she was fitted with in August 2015.
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One wrote: ‘Wow you have come along way I can’t believe how well you have adapted to your new life so proud you just get on with it well done’.
Another added: ‘Your bravery has no bounds I hope the pain gets less each time. Well Done you incredible woman!’.
The brave amputee, 21, from South Yorkshire has been training all year after setting herself goals to complete various fitness challenges in 2018, after she was forced to have her left leg amputated following the rollercoaster crash at the Staffordshire theme park in June 2015 (pictured in September 2014)
In September Leah shared pictures of her romantic holiday in Cape Verde with her boyfriend Joe Pugh and their pals to Cape Verde (seen)
‘Yesterdays track session was my best so far, thanks to Carolyn for pushing me through the pain and getting me to where I am now,’ she wrote alongside a video showing her running along the track in the autumnal weather.
In September Leah shared pictures of her romantic holiday in Cape Verde with her boyfriend Joe Pugh – who wasand their pals to Cape Verde.
Leah posted the set of three images on her account along with the caption: ‘BEACH BUM just out here living my best life & feeling great having the best holiday with the best group of friends & boyfriend.’
And the break was well-deserved, as just a month earlier In August Leah revealed she is taking dance lessons, amid a series of fitness challenges she has set herself.
Leah took to Twitter to share the news that she had completed ‘another challenge’ after spending the summer relearning how to run, climb, and trampoline.
Leah has been working with Pace Rehabilitation, a provider of amputee rehabilitation services, throwing herself into an array of activities to learn how to walk with her £60,000 prosthetic leg.
In June Leah shared a snap of herself attending a climbing and trampolining session, writing: ‘This morning I’ve ticked something else off my list of goals – trampolining. This was so much fun and a great form of exercise!’
And in May Leah shared a picture of herself on a running track, posing alongside her trainer after running her first mile in years.
She wrote at the time: ‘Another goal achieved! Thank you to Carolyn and Howard for helping me achieve another goal.
‘Yesterday I ran my first mile in many years, even though it was the hardest mile ever I’m happy with my achievements and can’t wait to improve’.
Posting a snap this week as she practiced with the class, she wrote: ‘Had so much fun yesterday! Another goal ticked off my list, thank you @pacerehab for organising it!’
Pictures shared by the clinic see an instructor showing a class of five amputees doing a warm up before leaning against a bar. Leah Washington is seen far left in the black vest.
The class is then seen joining hands with a dance partner, with Leah Washington seen far right as she completes her fitness challenges for the summer
In January Leah kicked off the year by sharing an inspirational post with her 17,600 Instagram followers, revealing her plan to ‘push herself further’ in 2018.
‘Last year before my operation I was really getting into the gym, I loved working out especially boxing as this is literally a full body work out and is actually pretty fun.
‘As an amputee some workouts can be very challenging and you have to find other ways to do them. It’s important to challenge myself to gain strength in my leg and overall body which then helps with everyday tasks like walking etc!
‘On my blog I wrote a list of things I want to achieve is 2018 on that list was to get a blade and hopefully start running so fingers crossed that I will be able to achieve that.’
In May Leah shared a picture of herself on a running track, posing alongside her trainer after running her first mile in years. She wrote at the time: ‘Another goal achieved! Thank you to Carolyn and Howard for helping me achieve another goal.’
A video captured the moment she completed the run with hardly any support from her trainer, writing: ‘Yesterday I ran my first mile in many years, even though it was the hardest mile ever I’m happy with my achievements and can’t wait to improve’.
Leah was on her first proper date with boyfriend Joe Pugh when the Smiler rollercoaster carriage smashed into a stationary train at Alton Towers, in Staffordshire, during June 2015.
Leah from Barnsley, was one of two young passengers who lost a leg while Joe, suffered devastating injuries himself including two shattered kneecaps.
In spite the trauma of the crash, the pair have stayed together and often post pictures of their days out on social media.
Despite having a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg which allows her to walk unaided, the teenager still suffers crippling pain and fatigue after standing for long periods.
In spite the trauma of the crash, Leah and Joe have stayed together and often post pictures of their days out on social media
An investigation into the 2015 accident concluded that the crash was due to human error; an engineer had wrongly restarted the ride while a stationary carriage was on the track in front of it.
Alton Towers owner Merlin Attractions were fined £5million for health and safety breaches which were blasted by Judge Michael Chambers QC as a ‘catastrophic failure’.
They were fined an initial £5million, and interim payments have covered Leah and Joe’s medical and physio bills to date – but the pair have also submitted a ‘substantial’ compensation claim.
Leah’s £60,000 prosthetic leg – which contains a microprocessor knee – will need replacing every few years, which will amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds over her lifetime.
What happened during the Alton Towers Smiler crash?
On June 2, 2015 visitors were removed from the Alton Towers Smiler ride after a warning light indicated a fault.
Staff sent a test train around the track, but it didn’t make it around. Due to a breakdown in communication, staff did not realise this carrigage was still sitting on the track.
Passengers were let back on but as the first carriage made its way around, the computer system stopped it because it showed something was blocking the track.
Engineers were still not aware that there was a fifth carriage sitting on the track and overrode a fault which had been detected by the computer system, sending the ride crashing into an empty carriage with the force of a ’90mph car crash’.
At least 16 were injured and five people were seriously hurt. Leah Washington from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and Vicky Balch from Leyland, Lancashire, were both forced to undergo leg amputations as a result of the horror crash.
The Smiler at Alton Park, where 16 people were injured in a 2015 collision (file picture). An investigation found that a computer block stopping the ride because of a stationary car on the track had been over-ridden by staff, causing the crash
Joe Pugh also from Barnsley and Daniel Thorpe, 28, from Buxton, Derbyshire, also suffered serious leg injuries, along with 49-year-old Chandaben Chauhan.
The trapped ride-goers had to wait more than four hours to be freed from the crumpled carriage while rescue workers battled to reach them as they sat 25ft up in the air at an angle of about 45 degrees, pinned in by the mangled metal.
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