Skip to content
All news

24 August 2022

Taking part in a triathlon six years after my accident

by Ako Shillitoe

Ako running

Ako Shillitoe has completed a triathlon, six years after a climbing accident that left her fighting for her life. Here, she shares her personal recovery journey and why she decided to take part in the event.

In March 2016 I was on holiday in Mallorca with my husband, our two-year-old son, and a couple of friends. My husband and I are experienced climbers, and we decided to go to Spain that year specifically for the climbing. I was ascending the first route of the trip, what we call the “warm-up route”, but due to a technical error I fell from the top. Falling from a height of over 25 meters, I sustained multiple injuries so serious that the medical professionals did not know if I would survive the day. Thankfully, I did.

Ako ambulance

"For the first year, I struggled even to move. I went through so many frustrations and emotions. I even questioned why I had survived"

I was eventually deemed strong enough to be flown back home to England, where I stayed in the LGI's Trauma Unit for eight weeks undergoing various surgeries.

For the first year, I struggled even to move. I went through so many frustrations and emotions. I even questioned why I had survived.

Slowly I was able to move a little, and then I managed to walk a short distance. I was able to ride a bike after a while, although I couldn’t run yet. Eventually, I was even able to start climbing again!

Ako collage

I am so grateful to be alive, especially to be here with my husband and son. I am so grateful to be able to do what I love, spend time outdoors, and be active again. I am so grateful to those who helped me: my family and friends, the doctors and nurses at the LGI Trauma Unit, and my occupational therapist.

I cannot thank these people enough. I wanted to do something to make sure that others in my situation receive the help that they need. That's why I took on a triathlon in August 2022 to raise funds for Day One Trauma Support, who help people like me to rebuild their lives after major physical trauma.

I was so nervous at the start of the race, but once I got going I enjoyed it. I would like to say a big thank you to my boys for supporting me, and to everyone who donated and helped me raise £800 for Day One! I hope that my story will give some hope to others who have experienced a major traumatic injury.

Ako finish line 1
Ako medal 1

Help us be there for people like Ako

Sign-up to hear our latest news: