You are here: Holly's Story

Rise Up - Holly's Story

One year after suffering a non-traumatic spinal cord injury, professional singing coach Holly Clark is organising a Christmas concert in aid of Spinal Research.

In December 2020, Holly was suddenly paralysed overnight. It was a normal busy week for the mum of two when she started to feel pins and needles down her left leg. At first she put it down to tiredness, but overnight the numbness spread to both legs, into her pelvis and up to her waist.

Holly in a Wheelchair

“There was no warning sign, I simply went to bed one night a healthy young woman and woke up the next morning with no feeling from the waist down.”

After being admitted to hospital, she was finally diagnosed at King’s College London with Transverse Myelitis. This is an incomplete, non-traumatic spinal cord injury caused by the nervous system attacking itself in response to a virus.

Understandably for Holly, she felt a range of emotions at the time:

Holly in Hospital

“At the start I was angry, scared and confused. I had never heard of Transverse Myelitis and was looking towards the future with a sense of dread.”

Eventually Holly was able to return home, but the last year has been understandably tough. She has had to adapt to the reality of her new body and understand how to manage mobility, continence and her energy levels.

Holly and her son

“The biggest challenge for me is not to be fully recovered and back to normal. I’m re-learning how to do everyday things like my work, the school runs, cooking and just being a Mum - 10 months in and it doesn’t yet seem real.”

Rise Up!

After a rollercoaster year, Holly is determined to finish 2021 on a high. With the help of two of her community choirs, she is organising the “Rise Up” Christmas concert to raise funds for Spinal Research.

Taking place in Beckenham, Kent on 11 December, this will be an uplifting concert of modern music, celebrating the positivity that music can bring to individuals and the community.

As a trained opera singer, music has always been a huge part of Holly’s professional and personal life.

Rise Up! Flyer

“Singing is proven to be overwhelmingly therapeutic and beneficial to our physical and mental well-being. This has never been more true for me over the past year, with music providing me with a much-needed escape and focus.”

Holly in Rehab

Looking further ahead, Holly has a number of milestones she wants to achieve and continues to work hard on her rehabilitation.

She is also passionate about raising awareness around her condition and supporting Spinal Research to advance the research needed to create life changing treatments.