Paralysis fear prompts Nikki’s race to fitness

Nikki Hearn
Nikki Hearn
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Just over two years ago, Nikki Hearn was told she could be paralysed.

But the 37-year-old recently ran the Windmill 10k and Wesham 10k. She credits running and following Slimming World with helping her shed the pounds and aid her recovery.

Nikki said: “In July 2016, I had woken up in the middle of the night, with pain as though someone was stabbing me in the middle of my back. By day three I knew something wasn’t right.

“I went to the walk-in centre where they took bloods and did tests. After a few hours I got a call to go to Preston Hospital Primary Care.

“They found a mass on my spine. After an MRI, I was told it was a meningioma. I was referred to the neurosurgeon and told I needed an urgent operation to remove it, as it was compressing my spinal cord and if not removed, could have paralysed me within a year.

“I had my operation in the September. I have been left with nerve damage from the surgery which means I am numb and have a little weakness in my right leg.

“I recovered well, but with limited mobility for a few months I put a little more weight on. I went back to work in the January but was still not losing weight as I was weak and not very mobile.

“It was coming up to the one year anniversary of my operation and I decided I needed to do something. I joined a local couch to 5k. I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds the first time.

“I went back week after week and began to get better and gain strength. I graduated at my first park run in Lytham. This was an emotional day. I never thought just running 5k would impact me the way it did and the support from the people too.

“I’ve been going to Slimming World for years now and to be honest I’ve messed about for most of it. This year I am proud to say I have lost two-and-a-half stone. This is mainly down to my running - at Slimming World we call it Body Magic – and the Slimming World plan, working together. The support from my consultant, Emma Jones, is amazing too.”

Nikki attends Emma Jones’ sessions, Thursday evenings, at Wesham Community Centre. Emma also took part the Wesham 10k, with Nikki and another member of her group.