We are very proud to announce Jennie Sharpe and Catrina Farnell as our two first patient ambassadors for Cauda Equina Champions Charity.

Champions Charity works to promote best patient outcomes after a cauda equina injury. Our two new Ambassadors are shining examples of how it is possible to overcome some of the permanent issues that CES patients are left to live with. That it is possible to go on and achieve amazing things in the aftermath.

On Christmas Day 2018 Jennie Sharpe had emergency spinal surgery for cauda equina syndrome. Jennie had been dismissed by medical professionals and her treatment delayed. She was told she would never walk independently again and she definitely wouldn’t ride.

This understandably shook Jennie to her core, ‘’I completely lost my nerve and thought my career was over. I found life after CES extremely daunting. Some days I found it hard just to get out of bed, or even to just put one foot in front of the other’’ Jennie tells us

‘’Luckily, with a fantastic support team around me and sheer determination I got back on board and now I am competing once again!’’
Jennie goes on, ‘’ What we don’t talk about enough is the mental strain CES puts on us. I feel extremely privileged to be asked to be an ambassador for this amazing charity, and hope that I can help others see that sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is enough.’’

Since her surgery Jennie has taken charge and hasn’t let CES hold her back. Jennie has competed in two international show jumping competitions, passed her HGV driving test, gained further sponsorship and built herself a really strong social media presence following. Jennie often shares sensitive and personal details on Instagram about her new life and living with CES. She posts reach out to others and raise awareness wherever she can.

Catrina Farnell found our charity seven years after her cauda equina syndrome surgery. Catrina had become isolated at home, rarely going out but somehow found the courage to start volunteering for the charity.

Catrina played a key role in our national BBC News story with Clive Coleman and his team, enabling us for the first time to share our collective story publicly, raising awareness and helping us drive forward change.

Since flying the charity nest Catrina has found herself a new paid role and career moving forwards. She is now a Health Campaigner for People First Keighley where she works to support adults with learning disabilities, helping them to put their health and well-being in their own hands. She is also a proud Ambassador for Bradford District Foundation Care Trust as well as a patient representative in their Patient Involvement Strategic Group.

Keeping busy and spreading her positivity Catrina also volunteers for the Bradford Hate Crime Alliance and sits on the Bradford Safeguarding Voice Group.

‘’Being an Ambassador for Cauda Equina Champions Charity is an incredibly high honour. I have benefitted personally from their work, I have been supported, guided and empowered by them. Fighting the physical, emotional and social ramifications of CES on my own was hard. I tried to explain to those around me what it was felt like but they never fully understood the extent of my pain. Then, by chance I found this group of people led by Claire who showed me I wasn’t alone, that there was still so much possible. They were proof. They changed my life.

To now have the chance to be there for someone else, to give back to the charity that gave me so much, to make a difference by being a CECC Ambassador, well it really means the world to me. Thank you’’ says Catrina.

If you would like to learn more about Jennie and Catrina you can follow them on Instagram here

@jenniesharpeshowjumper - jkequestrian.co.uk

@catrinafarnell – www.peoplefirstkeighley.com