For those of you that don't know me, my name is Leanne. I have a disability that affects my legs and means I need to use a wheelchair. I was born 11 weeks early, weighing just 2lb 2oz.
I often get told that I'm 'very lucky' to have been born with it. I definitely haven't had a bad life, but I wouldn't call myself lucky to have it.
Up until about the age of 12, my life was basically in and out of hospital having various operations, and although they helped, they didn't cure anything. There won't be a cure, but how 'good' my disability is each day is down to me.
Fast forward a few years, and I massively got into sport. For 10 years I played table tennis for the great Britain paralympic team. I was lucky enough to compete in the commonwealth games in 2010 and carry the Olympic torch. Soon after, it was no longer my life, it had been taken away, and I was lost.
I suffered badly with mental health and put on some weight. March 27th 2019 (no idea why that date) I decided I wanted to change my life and get more into fitness. I wanted to lose weight, improve my mental health and enable me to live an 'easier' life with my disability.
Now, I know disability and fitness don't really go together, but why not!? Why can't someone who has a disability, who maybe has to use a wheelchair been seen as 'fit', be seen in the fitness industry!?
I'd never seen anyone with a disability that 'had' been able to change their body composition, so for that reason, I doubted I could. Just because I hadn't seen it didn't mean it was impossible.
Now, fitness has become my passion. My mental health and my body are the best they've ever been. I've lost 3 and a half stone, and I'm a qualified fitness instructor.
I would love to raise more awareness of disability and fitness and hopefully inspire others to believe you really can achieve anything if you set your mind to it.
The gym is a place for anybody and everybody. We all have our own stories to tell and battles we face.
I really struggled to find a 'role model' someone I could look up to and think if they can do it, so can i. So I decided to make an Instagram @lift_with_leanne to document my journey.
For me, if I can help one person, disabled or not, really believe they can achieve anything, then I'm happy.
One of my favourite quotes and something I try to live by is...'i may have a disability, but I don't let it have me. Be somebody nobody thought you could be, not even you!' 🤍