Tuesday 23 June 2020

A fitness coach has told how she was inspired to take part in a Virtual Snowdon Hike for charity after the Wales Air Ambulance saved her daughter’s life.

Sarah Owen, who teaches H.A.B.I.T fitness at Pritchard’s Martial Arts in Bangor, is one of 37 members, including her daughter Cara, who took part in the fundraising for the lifesaving helicopter charity.

Caernarfon kickboxer, Cara Owen, 22, suffered an acute subdural hematoma (a life-threatening blot clot on the brain) after winning an amateur kickboxing match in September 2019. She survived following emergency care from the Charity’s medics Tracy Phipps and Ian Thomas, and later went on to have a metal plate inserted into her head.

Cara, who has been a martial artist since she was three and has trained and coached martial arts since she was 14, has since made a remarkable recovery and has shocked her consultant with how well she has recovered.

Cara took part in the virtual hike by jogging due to the fact the stairs would make her dizzy.

She has been described by her proud mum as an ‘inspiration to a lot of the students and especially the kids’. Cara said: “I am so very grateful to everyone that looked after me that evening and since. Thank you is not enough. You never know what is around the corner and I never thought this would ever happen to me. 

“We need to support this charity as much as we can so they can continue to run. To some, it is a matter of life or death and it’s a crucial service.” 

Every year, the fitness group take part in a Snowdon Hike for charity but due to the current government restrictions, the students completed the challenge virtually. They worked out how many steps they needed to do to complete the hike and adhere to lockdown restrictions.

The participants from the martial arts and fitness schools in Gwynedd, Caernarfon, Bangor, Pwllheli and Abergele, smashed their £1,500 target and raised £1,810. The public thought the fundraiser was a ‘fantastic event’ and gave them all amazing support throughout.

Reflecting on the importance of raising funds for the Charity, Sarah said: “We chose Wales Air Ambulance as it’s a charity that really needs our support to be able to offer the service 24/7 rather than 12 hours. 

“We also personally feel close to this charity after they helped save my daughter’s life. She fell ill with a traumatic head injury doing the sports she loved.

“Even though she was not flown to hospital due to it being dark and awful weather, Wales Air Ambulance still came out in a rapid response vehicle and did everything they could to save her. Due to the fast actions of everyone on that night, she survived. Her injury was so severe it was time of the essence. Imagine if they could give this service 24/7. It’s so crucial.”

The members had a week to climb up 132 flights of stairs a day. Sarah added that she thought the virtual Snowdon Hike was harder than climbing the mountain.

Lynne Garlick, Wales Air Ambulance’s North Wales Fundraising Manager, said: “Hearing stories like Cara’s, where our medics saved her life, brings home how essential our service is in Wales. It is lovely to hear that Cara is recovering so well, and inspirational to see her taking part in a Virtual Snowdon Hike just 10 months later. Thank you very much to everyone who took part, and we wish Cara well in her recovery.” 

Since the accident, Cara has decided not to step back into the kickboxing ring but remains passionate about the sport.

You can still show your support to all staff and members who took part in the virtual hike by sponsoring them on their Just Giving page Habit Fitness Virtual Hike up Snowdon here.