“I am still exactly the same person. I still have crazy hair and a mad laugh”
If you follow the extensive reporting of Age-Group racing that I do on Tri247, you’ll likely have seen the name Claire Danson pop up in reports quite frequently in recent years.
In June this year (report HERE), Claire was the fastest British athlete, second quickest Age-Grouper overall and the Gold medal winner in the 30-34 division at the ETU Triathlon European Championships in Weert, Belgium. Just a week later she was an Age-Group winner at 70.3 Staffordshire. Last year, she was also a European Bronze medalist in both Glasgow and Tartu.
On 28th August this year, Claire, who is the sister of Great Britain Olympic Hockey Gold medal winner Alex Danson, was involved in a serious bike collision with a tractor. Through a mutual friend, I had some awareness of an accident and that it was potentially serious, but the severity of that has been confirmed this week.
In emotional announcements from both Claire and Alex – both embedded below – they confirm that a complete sever to her spinal cord at T9 has left Claire “paralysed from my belly button downwards”.
Please follow Claire and #DoItForDanson
Having decided to share my story with you including all the highs and the lows I would like you to follow me and I would like you to learn all about spinal injuries with me. This world is so new to me I want to help educate others as to what it is like and what it involves.
You can follow Claire on Instagram HERE
A fundraising page has also been set up to help Claire in the next stage of what well be a long journey:
You can donate HERE
We have set up this GoFundMe in response to the overwhelming number of people who have been in touch wanting to know how to help and support Claire. We hope to raise funds for Claire as well as awareness for why she is still with us today. Simply put, without her helmet, her fitness & strength, the air ambulance and Southampton’s incredible Neuro ICU, Claire wouldn’t be here today. The funds raised through this page will help Claire on her journey to achieve whatever she wishes. It will support her rehabilitation and provide her with vital equipment and services required for her to fulfil her potential… maybe even buy her first race chair!
Sincere best wishes to Claire and all of her family and friends. If you are an Instagram user, please do give her a follow – and if you can spare a few pounds, then I’m sure it will be put to very good use by the very determined young woman who has not given up on her sporting ambitions.
Claire Danson’s Instagram announcement
View this post on Instagram
. It has taken me a while to write this but now I am ready to share my story of the incident that has changed my life for ever; a story of going from European champion at triathlon to life in a wheelchair . On the 28th August I had a collision with a tractor whilst riding my bike. I suffered 2 punctured lungs, broke a finger, both wrists, the head of my humerus and both shoulders. I also fractured all the bones in my neck including a break to one and had multiple fractures and breaks to every one of my ribs. I have had quite a few surgeries to sort all this and now have a large amount of metal in me. All of this will heal fully . Unfortunately I also suffered a complete sever to my spinal cord at T9. This means that I am paralysed from my belly button downwards. This is of course not something that will heal. Whilst I still have hard moments I have accepted the situation I am now in and won’t be letting it stop me do anything that I want to (including triathlon!) . Now you have this info all I ask is for you to remember that I am still exactly the same person. I still have crazy hair and a mad laugh, I am still the clumsiest person you have met and I will still tell the most long winded yet entertaining stories. So please treat me as the same old Claire. Nothing has changed there . Having decided to share my story with you including all the highs and the lows I would like you to follow me and I would like you to learn all about spinal injuries with me. This world is so new to me I want to help educate others as to what it is like and what it involves . Please help me to get this to as many people as possible by reposting and asking people to follow me . Thank you to the amazing sports people who have already been in contact. Claire xxx . @willgreenwood @jessicaennishill @holliewebb11 @claire80lomas @beckadlington @therealyarnold @chemmyski @maddiehinch @maxwhitlock @philipneville18 @lucybronze @emmawiggs @smithy04 @ajt_29 @petereed @dinaashersmith @alistair.brownlee
Alex Danson’s Instagram post:
View this post on Instagram
. The message I hope no one ever has to write . Nearly two months ago my dear sister a GB Triathlete had a horrific cycling accident. She broke both her arms in multiple places, shoulders, every rib, jaw, skull, punctured 2 lungs , compound fracture of her elbow, as well as many of her vertebrae in her back and neck . Most tragically Claire is now paralysed from T9 down . I have seen the girl I love turn into the girl I admire more than anyone in the world. In a blink of an eye her world has been turned upside down and her bravery, strength and that damm amazing smile are still there . She’s the most resilient, hard working and inspiring person you will ever meet & having already over come many challenges in her life before, I know she will reign a champion of this one too . After weeks in intensive care, general hospitals and now a spinal unit she has decided she wants to share her journey . I URGE you to follow her @cdanson10 . Please support her, laugh with her and sometimes cry with her….I don’t know why this has happened, sometimes I hate the world, but I keep hearing something in the back of my head……”Claire Danson you are going to change the world” . Please include #DoitforDanson in any messages you send. I’m tagging some of the amazing people who have already reached out to Claire . Thank you will never be enough. . #DoitforDanson