In March 2015, Riona Kelly, a mom of four, suffered a spinal stroke that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
On top of her stroke, Riona’s husband informed his wife that he wanted a divorce after being married for 14 years.
“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.”
Then one more person came into Riona’s life to help her through this difficult time. Riona’s personal trainer, Keith Mason, was there to help her physically. The pair then started developing a bond much stronger than patient and 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,” Riona said. “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.”
Keep scrolling to learn more about Riona and Keith and their happily ever after!
This is Riona Kelly, 37. In March 2015 the mom of four suffered a spinal stroke that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
“I really miss having the full use of my legs, I just miss silly little things that most of us take for granted,” Riona wrote in an emotional Instagram post.
Around the same time as her stroke, Riona’s husband of 14 years decided it was time for a divorce.
Riona not only had to go through rehabilitation alone, she had to cope with the loss of her marriage and partner.
“It was the time I needed my husband the most,” Riona said. “At the time I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to be strong for my children.”
So the mom continued to work hard to try and prove the doctors wrong and attempt to walk again.
“I put a post on Facebook last January looking for a personal trainer to help me and some friends suggested that I get in touch with Keith,” Riona said.
Riona started training with 35-year-old Keith Mason and the two formed a bond much deeper than trainer and trainee.
The two ended up keeping in contact, then formed a romantic relationship.
“I thank the Lord for bringing my soul mate into my life,” Riona wrote online. “Apart from my children I have never loved anyone the way that I love my best friend.”
Riona and Keith have been together almost one year and the mom couldn’t be happier to have found him when she needed someone to depend on most.
Keith helped Riona battle back from her stroke through different training sessions.
The mom shocked doctors when her rehab was paying off and she started to walk again.
“I was dragging my body and I had no feeling in my legs but I didn’t care, I was walking and that’s all that mattered,” she remembered. “Every day I built up my strength and after four months in the hospital, I was finally allowed to go home.”
Riona went home to her children and they started raising funds for research for spinal strokes. She still trains with Keith and needs her wheelchair for long distances.
“Looking back, going through what I did was the best thing to ever happen to me,” the mom said. “I’m now back in the gym, and with Keith’s help I’m getting better and stronger than ever.”
Riona credits a lot of her progress to the amazing support system she has at home with her family, friends, and of course newfound love Keith.
“Keith says I inspire him, but he encourages me every day and understands and sees the pain that I am in,” Riona said. “He has been amazing with me and the children and I love him more each and every day.”
Keith has helped Riona so much not only with her paralysis but also her self-confidence and acceptance when it comes to needing others in a time of crisis.
“I used to struggle accepting help but now I welcome it as it helps me to keep moving forward,” Riona wrote online. “We can’t always do everything on our own with no help & support. Being the bigger & stronger person is to admit when we need help & accept it off of the right people.”
Riona has come such a long way since March 2015. It’s not only thanks to her newfound love and her children, but also her own strength and perseverance to get through the most difficult time in her life.
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