Double leg break fails to deter walker

By Roger Moroney

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If determination and the will to overcome the worst of odds is the recipe to succeed then Napier's Tess Williamson is on the sure path to success this Sunday when she takes on the 15km stretch of the Mitre 10 Mega Walk.


She is doing it for two reasons - one is to support child cancer support organisation CanTeen and the other is to fulfil the second of two goals she set herself many months ago in her hospital bed.

Before December 12 last year she had never broken a bone in her life.

With a laugh, she said her husband David told her later she never did anything by halves.

It was a freak accident in the driveway of their Greenmeadows home which nearly cost her the ability to walk again.

She was standing by a brick and timber fence when a car being moved in the driveway suddenly "bunny-hopped" out of control and slammed into her.

The timber of the fence gave way but the brickwork, which was as high as the distance between her ankles and knees, did not.

Both her legs were snapped below the knees, and her right femur was also broken.

She was later told if the car had been going a little faster and the whole fence had been brick she "would not be here."

She lost a lot of blood, and during her first 10 days in Hawke's Bay Hospital underwent surgery five times. Over the following months she had five more procedures, as well as two for cosmetic surgery.

Flesh and muscles from her stomach were removed to rebuild a part of her left leg.

"They said if it did not take they may have to amputate it."

She was also told the injury and damage was so severe it would be a year to 18 months before she was likely to walk again.

That, she said, did not compute.

"I have always been into fitness but at that point I needed a goal - especially when you get told you could lose a leg or need sticks to get around."

She was determined to get up and about as soon as she could, and set a couple of goals for herself.

One was the Pak'n ave half-marathon walk last month, and the other was the CanTeen-supporting walk this Sunday.

To the astonishment of specialists, she has completed the first and is preparing to take on the second.

"I was bedridden for a long time. I had metal supports in my legs," she said, adding that when she was finally able to leave her hospital bed after about three months she was wheelchair bound - "for a long time."

Once the cast on both legs were removed, and support boots put in their place, she "hobbled" and "tottered" about the house as much as she could.

She has effectively been up and about for the past three months. Although the damage has meant one leg is 2cm shorter than the other, she has had her shoes "adjusted" to compensate.

There is still some discomfort, but on Sunday she will pace off the kilometres, for CanTeen, for her own goal-reaching and to inspire others.

"To give other people going through a bad time hope - that they can do things if they put their mind to it."


Mitre 10 MEGA Walk



  • The MEGA is a 28km run or walk. It starts at Mitre 10 MEGA, Hastings, at 7.30am on Sunday. Participants will follow a sign-posted route through Hastings to the Showgrounds. The course heads towards Whakatu before joining the Rotary Pathway at Pakowhai Park, adjacent to the Chesterhope Bridge. It then follows the Pathway to Ahuriri.


  • The Hawke's Bay Today Half MEGA is a 15km run or walk that starts at Awatoto, opposite the southern end of the Fertiliser Works, at 9am and follows the Rotary Pathway.


  • The MoreFM Short MEGA is a 6.5km version which starts behind Ocean Spa on the Marine Parade at 10am.


  • The MEGA Meander is a 3.5km walk or meander starting at 10am at Perfume Point, Ahuriri. The finish line is at Mitre 10 MEGA, Prebensen Drive, Napier.


  • People wanting to take part can check out the details, register and pay the entry online at www.megawalk.co.nz


- Hawkes Bay Today

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