At the age of 24, Rachel was severely injured when a tractor rolled forward, crushing her behind the steering wheel and breaking her back in three places. Rachel was paralysed from the waist down as a result of the accident and was admitted to the Spinal Injuries Unit at the Northern General Hospital, one of only eight specialist centres in the country.
During her first 12 weeks on the Unit, Rachel had to remain completely stationary in bed to help give her the best chance of recovery. At this stage, Rachel required intensive support and staff cared for her every need. After this period, Rachel was moved on a daily basis, to enable her to sit up a few degrees until she was able to sit fully upright on her own. Rehabilitation was painfully slow, to allow her body to readjust from the injury. With the support of physiotherapists and access to a specialist gym and swimming pool within the Unit, Rachel was eventually able to use a wheelchair and to gradually build up some movement in her legs. Rachel spent a total of four months on the Unit and was able to leave when she had regained sufficient independence to manage at home.