In February 1999, age 29, married with a 2 year old daughter, Melina was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties and placed in an induced coma which lasted for 52 days. Milena had had a stroke. Lack of oxygen had caused her hands and feet to turn black. Milena's hands recovered apart from a pinky, but she lost all her toes on the right foot and her left foot was amputated through the ankle and had lost her sight.
She later discovered she had the rare condition Blindsight, This condition means that blind people respond to visual stimuli they do not consciously see. Milena’s Neurosurgeon recommended that she take up horse riding to deal with the condition.
In June 1999, Milena was transferred to a rehabilitation unit where she had to learn how to do everything all over again – to walk, to feed and dress herself, everything.
In Melina's own words
“I had to learn to do everything again now that I was to live my life as a blind person. Some days were really hard but I had to persevere if I wanted to return home to my family and start living my life again.
When my Neurosurgeon suggested I take up riding I thought he was mad – I had never been on a horse as a sighted person, so how could I ride a horse now? I have now been riding for about ten years and have never looked back. I love the feeling of being able to ride as a blind
person, it brings great enjoyment every week.”
“I would encourage any disabled person and anyone who is looking to volunteer in this activity to look for their local RDA school - they will make a difference to your life and to someone else's life. ”
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