Meningitis Now Young Ambassador Jemma Pressman

It's not all doom and gloom

Jemma P 9th January 2016

This time two years ago I was still in intensive care

Jemma Horse Riding Letterbox
I couldn't move, I had to be hoisted between bed and chair, I needed people to hold drinks and feed me food. I was still on a ventilator as I couldn't breathe for myself. 

They were dark times. I had to relearn the things you did when you were a child and had no idea what you were doing. I've been having to relearn all of this with a mind like every other 21 year old. It's been tough.

It's been such a long journey. You just want to wake up one day and be 'normal' again. Be like you used to be - not having to think of everything you do. Just wake up, get out of bed and do everything you used to do. 

Although this journey has been long, and I'm still on it, it's not all 'doom and gloom', because of the help I've had from Meningitis Now. They have managed to fund 20 weeks of horse riding for me. 

Hampshire Riding Therapy Centre (HRTC) is very experienced in helping the able and less able enjoy horse riding.

My first lesson was on the 12 August and I've been going for a half an hour lesson every week ever since. It's been amazing! It's built up my core, back and leg muscles. It's also helped my balance because you're moving all the time, so it's allowed by brain to experience different motions.

Emotionally horse riding has done me the world of good because I'm interacting with different people, getting out and about. Not forgetting the scenery around the stables which is beautiful. 

With the way it's built up my muscles I can achieve so much more. My walking feels so much stronger because my core muscles have made me so much more steady. I can move my frame a lot easier because I'm not leaning on it so much. I can get into my grandmas house, which requires walking up steps and walking through her house with two people either side of me. It means I can get into friends houses too, so it's opened up so much possibility. 

I feel like i can take on the world

It's the best feeling because I feel stronger than I've felt in two years. I feel like I can literally take on the world - it's amazing when you can feel your muscles contract when you haven't before because they've been so weak. 

So although this journey is long, and I know I've got a long road ahead of me, knowing that I'm still progressing and getting stronger all the time is giving me the hope, fight and determination I need to get where I dream to be; which is independent, walking and living life like I used to.