Helena goes for gold at Paralympics
13 December, 2019 — By Sam Ferguson
Helena Stone: ‘Paris 2024, or LA 2028, I’m going to get into this and go for it’
A ROWER who won a British championship title three months after having her leg amputated is now gunning for gold at the Paralympics.
Helena Stone, 22, was 16 when she damaged her knee in a life-changing kayaking accident.
It left the teenager from Calabria Road, Holloway, in near constant pain for six years after she developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), making simple tasks like showering or changing clothes almost unbearable.
As the Tribune reported earlier this year, she made the decision to take a year out from her university studies to have her leg amputated.
She had the operation in September, and the results were instant.
“It was a massive risk to have it amputated,” she said. “I could have developed phantom limb pains, where I would still be in agony but without the leg. Or the trauma of the operation could have caused the pain to spread.
“But the first thing I said when I woke up was: ‘The pain is gone’.”
Ms Stone explained she got into rowing three years after her accident.
“I started doing it with the disability rowing group as a social thing too,” she said.
At the British Indoor Championships, Ms Stone finished her four-minute AR3-PD time trial with a distance of 798 metres.
“It was suggested that I might enjoy competing at the British Indoor Championships, so I just went into it as a bit of fun and something to aim for.”
Her achievement caught the eye of the British Invictus Games and Paralympic teams, who told her they could not believe how recent her amputation was.
In the days since victory on Sunday, Ms Stone has set her sights even higher, aiming for Paralympic gold with a little help from para-triathlon champion Andy Lewis.
“I’ve been training with Andy Lewis, who won gold in Rio 2016,” she said.
“I’ve had a few conversations with him and asked if I had what it takes. He said whatever I touch might turn into gold.
“I’m quite realistic about it, but Paris 2024, or LA 2028, I’m going to get into this and go for it.”