Paralysed Mum Finds Love With Personal Trainer Who Helped Her Walk Again

by : Francesca Donovan on : 25 Aug 2017 13:41

A paralysed mum has found love with the personal trainer who helped her back on her feet – both physically and emotionally – after she claims her husband left her in her hospital bed. 

Riona Kelly, 37, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, was left paralysed from her waist down following a spinal stroke. When doctors told her she would never regain the use of her legs, she claims her husband of 14 years filed for divorce.

That was in March 2015. Now, Ms Kelly, having defied her doctors, is looking forward to spending the rest of her life with the 35-year-old former rugby league player who helped her walk again.


Kelly told Daily Mail Online:

After suffering a stroke not only did I have to deal with paralysis but I had to deal with losing my partner of 14 years. After he asked me for a divorce I was left completely alone.

After five days in hospital I was told it would take me six months to a year to recover. At the time I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to be strong for my children and so when I finally took my first steps it felt amazing.


She added:

I put a post on Facebook last January looking for a personal trainer to help me and some friends suggested that I get in touch with Keith.

After our sessions Keith and I stayed in contact, he would ask me how I was getting on and our relationship blossomed from there. We have now been together for 11 months, the children really like him and I finally feel like I’m living the life I deserve.

Ms Kelly had suffered a car accident eighteen months prior to her stroke, making recovery all the more slow and strenuous, saying, ‘If someone had given me the choice I would have ended my life, I didn’t want to live anymore’.


The added alleged emotional trauma left the mum-of-four feeling lost.

Her husband Richard insists he told her he wanted a divorce the morning before the stroke and he visited her in the hospital while also looking after the children.

Kelly took her first steps just eight weeks after the stroke, citing her children as her inspiration to get well through physio.


She recalled:

I was dragging my body and I had no feeling in my legs but I didn’t care, I was walking and that’s all that mattered.

My consultant was very emotional, he couldn’t believe I had done it with the help of a standing frame. Every day I built up my strength and after four months in hospital I was finally allowed to go home.

Riona says her stroke ‘has opened so many wonderful doors’ adding she’s signed up with Models of Diversity and has just landed her first TV commercial.


Not to mention met the love of her life.

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Health, Fitness


Daily Mail
  1. Daily Mail

    Mother, 37, 'whose husband asked for a divorce five days after she was left paralysed by a stroke' finds new love with personal trainer