At some point, we’ll all have to deal with adversity. Many people make a full recovery, but others still have a long way to go.
Riona Kelly, a 37-year-old mother of four, experienced not one but two devastating events in 2015. The one wounded her body, but the other tortured her mind.
Riona had a stroke and became paralyzed from the waist down; yet, the devastating news that she would never walk again wasn’t what finally shattered her.
Riona Kelly’s stroke eight years ago has had a significant impact on her life.
The schoolteacher and mother of four had to confront her greatest struggle; doctors had told her she might never walk again.
Riona explained to The Mirror in 2017 that she had “suffered a car accident 18 months prior,” which could have contributed to her spinal issues.
The mother’s resolve to turn her life around and be there for her children ultimately led to her returning to the workforce.
The man who was supposed to help her in her time of need let her down and abandoned her. Her 14-year-husband filed for divorce after only five days in the hospital.
Riona, paralyzed with grief, longed to give up as she lay in her hospital bed. Now that she couldn’t take care of herself, how would she provide for her four kids?
”After my husband left me in hospital, my friend, Sarah, became my next of kin, it was her and the children that supported me during my recovery. Looking back I was miserable in my marriage, but we had built a life together and had responsibilities,” Riona told The Mirror.
The day before Riona had her stroke and became paralyzed from the neck down, her ex-husband Richard claims he wanted to divorce.
The physicians were hopeful that Riona would regain some use in her legs, but the recovery process was lengthy.
She almost gave up countless times, but she kept going.
”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,” Riona shared.
Keith Mason, a former rugby league player and athlete, was Riona’s personal trainer during her grueling rehabilitation path, which included hundreds of hours of physiotherapy.
They hit it off instantly and started spending a lot of time together. Keith would regularly check in with Riona to see how she was doing, and the two quickly became close.
After hitting rock bottom, Riona began dating and eventually fell in love with one of her therapists. Her children were also fond of Keith, and they all felt a lift after she welcomed him into the family.
Riona spent four months in the hospital before being released.
She was able to restore some mobility in her legs with Keith’s assistance and a lot of physical therapy, though she still needs a wheelchair for extended journeys.
Riona has used Keith and her wheelchair to finish multiple marathons after her stroke.
Riona can walk normally now, although she frequently makes use of a special artificial intelligence frame she had built for her legs.
Keith Mason and Riona Kelly encouraged millions of people during the COVID lockdowns as they shared updates on her road to recovery through social media.
The mother is an inspiration for keeping going when things get tough. The doctors were mistaken about her and Keith.
“The thought of us walking hand in hand around the city of York for hours was inconceivable just a few months ago, thank God for inventors, innovation and visionary’s who created Riona’s bionic legs, which have AI and the first ever to be made,” Keith wrote on Twitter in 2022, posting a video of the couple:
Unfortunately, it seems that things between Mason and Riona have soured.
In 2023, Mason hasn’t uploaded any photos of Riona, but he also hasn’t deleted any. However, it appears that Riona has deleted her once-active social media profiles.
We pray that they are both healthy and able to move on to greater things elsewhere. They’ve had an incredible adventure together, and we appreciate being a part of it.