I was born and brought up In Sheffield. I was always interested in swimming, reading, cinema and art before MS. I used to make all my own clothes and those of my partner. I have lived with my partner since 1978 and we only just got married! We have a daughter who was born in 1994 and she has been a joy in our lives. We both have large families who have been very supportive with my illness.
I worked as a nurse midwife and health visitor for many years and then went into health and nursing management. My last post from 2000 to 2006, was as a Surestart program manager in Tinsley Sheffield. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001 and worked until I took ill health retirement in 2006 as my health had deteriorated and I was in a wheelchair.
MS has resulted in poor balance and an inability to walk, as well as the loss of the use of my right arm. I have a motorised wheelchair and specialised wheelchair back that supports me in as upright a posture as is possible. I have had physiotherapy continually since having MS as I find it very beneficial for my posture and sore limbs and muscles. I have also often acted as a guinea pig for physiotherapy students at the Hallam University which I enjoy.
I first heard about Sheffield Cycling 4 All in February 2023 through my Physiotherapist and that was when I started coming to the cycling sessions.
I feel SC4A has had a big impact on my life. The sense of achievement has been quite startling as I didn’t realise how much I needed this in my life.
Being in a wheelchair for 17 1/2 years has been such a struggle, but I have managed with the help of my husband, daughter, family and friends and my carers. However, many times you feel you are slowly drowning as it is so hard to hold onto anything positive in your life when everything you enjoyed and were able to achieve in life seems to have been taken from you.
I never thought cycling would have such a big impact on me and I wish I had done it sooner. My current carer is a gem as she is able to cycle with me on Jayne, the Van Raam Side by Side tandem cycle. I thoroughly enjoy it and it is so good to get out in the fresh air and be at one with nature. I really feel this has benefited my feelings of positivity and I do find it easier to feel happier and positive in the day.
Cycling has really helped me to feel stronger in my legs and able to transfer more efficiently, using my walking frame from chair to bed etc.
I’m a fairly positive person and always try to have a good outlook on life, but I do feel going cycling has really helped me boost this. It’s also really good to be out in the park. I’m seeing others who have severe health issues and debilitating conditions find such joy and sense of achievement through cycling. Everyone is thrilled to be there, knowing that this is something that they can do as the bikes and trikes are all adapted to use and are able to accommodate everyone that comes to the sessions.
The workers and volunteers are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the equipment, the adaptations and how to approach the cycling. They’re very good at boosting your confidence; at helping you to feel you can undertake something that can be quite scary at first.
I hope I will be able to continue to cycle at the Sheffield Cycling 4 All sessions as I cannot do this on my own and I do require a carer or another person to cycle with me. I don’t think I would be able to manage on an electric cycle on my own as I wouldn’t be confident now in traffic, but perhaps on a cycle trail that might be a possibility.
Since she first came to visit SC4A at the start of 2023, Sally has been cycling 38 times (at the time of writing this – Oct 2023). She has also been involved in other aspects of the project by sending letters to the Council about the MUGA redevelopment, as well as encouraging her daughter to do the same!