Bundaberg woman Jackie Gilks-Sergiacomi has fought her way out of a wheelchair to walk her horse Echo on local beaches.
The extraordinary achievement was realised one year ahead of Jackie's own ambitious target.
“On 1 Jan 2020 while sitting in my wheelchair I decided to set a target,” she said.
“It was to be able to walk on the beach with my horse by 1 Jan 2021. A day late but I managed to get there,” Jackie posted to her Facebook community.
Wheelchair bound after an accident resulted in severe damage to her wrist and femur, Jackie believed her horse-riding days were over, but sheer determination has found her back on her feet, and her horse.
“The doctors didn’t know if they could fix me,” Jackie said.
“An amputation most likely – a poor prognosis for future riding and sport.”
Enduring pain with each step and obstacles in her way, Jackie set her mind to completing the daily rehabilitation exercises and attending regular physiotherapy appointments, with small and large goals keeping her focused to succeed.
“I needed goals to be able to push myself,” she said.
“Goals can be simple like being able to shower and dress yourself or bend your knee to 20 degrees.
“I always set a date for each goal.”
As recovery progressed, Jackie sought out the assistance of a personal trainer to further develop her strength and fitness.
“When I started at the gym, I wanted to bench my body weight even for just one rep by 31 December 2020.”
She did even better, successfully benching 7kg over this bold target before the deadline.
Riding and fitness goals aside, Jackie credits the unwavering support of her husband for helping her to persevere through the lowest parts of her recovery.
“I had my poor husband Kevin running around trying to do everything he normally does plus bath and dress me and run me to appointments,” she said.
“This made me realise how venerable and helpless I was, not a nice feeling at all after being a very strong and independent person.”
Kevin was also standing by Jackie’s side at the start of the year to enjoy the highs of achieving the goal of walking her horse on the beach.
“I am proud of myself for sticking it out and doing it,” she said.
“I was shaking with nerves and anxiety when I went to get the horse and I was still shaking when I got home.
“I could have just made an excuse but instead I asked my husband to come in case anything went wrong.”
With the New Year comes new life and fitness goals for Jackie where she will continue to inspire people with her amazing willpower and determination to succeed.
“My goals for 2021 are a little high, for example riding on a trail ride with my friends,” she said.
“Starting to squat and deadlift I will be happy if I can do 40kg for 3×12 reps easily.
“No matter how big the obstacles, if you truly want to achieve something, have a goal, make a plan and just do it!”