Para-dressage rider meets hero in green who helped save her life

Para-dressage rider meets hero in green who helped save her life

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A former 999 call handler has today been reunited with the ambulance technician who saved her life when she was thrown from a horse.

Stacey Heward, a former West Midlands Ambulance Service call handler from Staffordshire was reunited with Technician Michael Elliott this morning in an emotional reunion at Coalville Ambulance Station.

It has been five years since Stacey and Michael first met on 16 March 2014, when she suffered a broken neck while she was competing in a para-dressage competition at Vale View Equestrian Centre in Melton Mowbray.

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Stacey and her horse George

Stacey, 32, an experienced rider who suffers from a rare spinal condition was all set to compete on her horse George, but a last-minute complication and change of horse led to a sequence of events which would change Stacey’s life once again.

She said: “Within five to ten minutes of being on this other horse, I could feel him picking up speed. Because I didn’t have a lot of power in my legs due to my condition, I couldn’t control him and slow him down…next thing I know I was on the floor.”

Stacey suffered a break in her neck to her C4 vertebra but due to her condition, couldn’t feel any pain at all.

Michael, an Emergency Care Assistant at the time arrived with his crewmate in what would be his first trauma case in the few months he had been at EMAS.

Michael said: “I remember the incident so well especially because it involved a horse. I had only been at EMAS for a short while and it has stuck with me all this time.

“It’s amazing to see Stacey after all these years. To see how she has overcome her challenges to be able to walk again and to hear she is riding again is such great news!”

Stacey remained in hospital unable to move for a number of weeks and was lucky to be breathing on her own but thanks to her sheer determination, she learnt to walk again and has overcome a number of challenges to get to where she is today. She still enjoys riding, although George has now retired, and she hopes to continue riding in in the future.

Stacey said: “I am so pleased to meet Michael after all these years. I know my recovery was only possible thanks to the rapid response from EMAS and especially the crew who attended me.”