Mark Wilkinson - Belʼs Physiotherapist.

 

My name is Mark Wilkinson, I am a Chartered Physiotherapist specialising in spinal injury. In addition I run a small clinic in Skipton, North Yorkshire, which is mainly concerned with musculoskeletal injuries such as sports injuries.

I first started treating Bel in April 2011, just less than a year after her injury. At this point, Bel was spending almost all of the day on a ventilator and demonstrating very little functional movement. She was, however, and still is amazingly resilient, courageous and incredibly motivated to improve her situation. This attitude, mirrored by her supportive family, has enabled Bel to participate almost daily in some sort of physiotherapy  activity either provided by myself, Harrogate PCT or Stoke Mandeville.

I know more than most people the challenges that await Bel over the coming years and that without sufficient funds these challenges can become too much to bear. So, impressed by her courage I offered to take on a sponsored event to raise money for Bel’s trust fund. To this end, being quite a fit chap, I embarked upon a gruelling challenge. Over the summer of 2011 I sat on a Concept 2 indoor rowing machine and rowed 50 half marathons over 60 days, to complete one million metres of rowing for the Being Bel Trust. Some of these epic rows were performed in public at various events and country shows across the Yorkshire Dales where we collected money from people touched by Bel’s story. In total we raised over £12,000 and in the process I became the fastest person in the world to row this distance in 2011.

My input currently is to provide some quite intensive physiotherapy for Bel, three to four times a week, including a hydrotherapy  session each weekend. I am pleased to say that against the odds Bel shows small improvements  week after week. She works extremely hard in her hydrotherapy sessions and with the aid of floatation devises and some flippers she can move her legs sufficiently to propel herself 12 metres across the pool and has done this six times in one session!

I thoroughly enjoy working with Bel and marvelling at the improvements we are all seeing.

Above: Mark during one of his rowing marathons.
Below: Mark after one of his rowing marathons!