Divorced and partly paralyzed, after a stroke she found love

Riona Kelly from Halifax in the English county of West Yorkshire had to live through a two-fold tragedy in 2015. One twist of fate affected her heart, the other her legs. But amid these difficulties, she found unexpected happiness.

In March of that year, the mother of four suffered a stroke that paralyzed her legs. She lost all feeling below her waist. But on top of that, her husband reacted in a shocking way.

After the stroke, he divorced her — after 14 years of marriage. "It was the time I needed my husband the most," Riona said.

"After my husband left me in hospital, my friend, Sarah, became my next of kin, it was her and the children that supported me during my recovery." Just five days after Fiona was admitted to hospital, she says her husband Richard had filed for divorce.

On their separation, Richard said, "I told Riona I wanted a divorce the morning before her stroke, not whilst she was in hospital. Whilst she was in hospital I visited as much as I could of an evening, I had to take care of the children, look after the house and run a business."

"Looking back I was miserable in my marriage, but we had built a life together and had responsibilities," Riona explained.

"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," she said.

Riona was told she should be able to take her first steps within six weeks, but she couldn't move her legs. As a result, Riona's doctors believed she would never be able to walk again.

Two weeks after this assessment and after many hours in physiotherapy, Riona surprised her doctors — she took her first steps using parallel bars. And more good news was to follow: Someone new entered her life.

Riona met personal trainer Keith Mason, who was supposed to help alleviate her physical problems. However, a stronger bond soon developed between the patient and her trainer.

"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," Riona said. Keith and his daughter have now joined the family.

Riona trained hard and was able to leave hospital after four months. She only needs her wheelchair for longer journeys and has even taken part in two marathons using it. And with with her new love Keith, she has managed to get through probably the most difficult time in her life. After everything she's been through, she certainly deserves it.


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