Lady Legend of Ironman
When you damage your spinal cord, the last thing you think about in the hospital is what your first handcycling marathon will be like. But for Trish Downing, a T4 paraplegic injured doing what she loves the most — bicycling — this was just who she was.

Trish Downing“My first race post-injury was five months after I was discharged from the hospital,” she says. “While I was in rehab at Craig Hospital, one of my friends told me about Team Diabetes and talked me into fundraising and doing a marathon,” she says. “So without having even been in a racing chair before, I committed to the race.”

Downing, now 45, competed in her first marathon in 2001, doing the half-marathon. “It fueled the fire for me to want to do more racing,” she adds, but quickly realized handcycling by itself wasn’t enough.

“Many of the handcycling races were held along with able-bodied bike races; it was too depressing for me to go and see everyone doing what I would never do again,” she admits. So in 2002 she decided to try a brand new sport — triathlons — the sport that combines swimming, handcycling and wheelchair racing.

She successfully competed in her first triathlon in 2005, becoming one of the first females with paralysis to do so. “I did my first Ironman in 2005 and my second in 2008. I also started in four other races but didn’t make the time cut. So I trained for six total in a very short period of time.”

Now retired from triathlons due to pain, Downing became a speaker and author. But she is also exploring other sports. “I’ve recently started shooting air pistols and found that not only is it a fun sport and a new challenge, but it’s something that my husband and I can do and enjoy together.”


Weight Loss Journey Profiled
Jamie Goodwin, a 38-year-old paraplegic from Canton, Ga., always wanted to be the “hot wheelchair wife” for her husband, but after giving birth to three boys post-injury and gaining 60 pounds in one year, she found herself weighing 231 pounds. So in 2013 she began working out with her husband, doing various CrossFit strength and cardio workouts, medicine ball training, boxing and more.

Jamie GoodwinBut she wanted to inspire others along the way. After being turned down by two reality shows, including The Biggest Loser, she decided to start her own Facebook group — Wheelin’ Weightloss — so people could follow her. A local trainer contacted her and helped develop an even better workout tailored specifically for her abilities.

Goodwin now has over 4,000 of what she calls “accountability weight loss partners,” and she has dropped over 42 pounds since starting her weight loss journey. This is definitely social media at its finest.

Follow her journey on:

Do You Play an Instrument?
The British Paraorchestra, established in 2012, is the world’s first professional ensemble of disabled musicians. Founded by British conductor Charles Hazelwood, who noticed a lack of musicians with disabilities in the orchestra world, The British Paraorchestra welcomes musicians with a variety of disabilities. See for yourself at