LAUREN JONES - CASTORE AMBASSADOR
WE’RE IMMENSELY PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT OUR LATEST CASTORE AMBASSADOR IS TEAM GB WHEELCHAIR ATHLETE, LAUREN JONES.
LAUREN’S STORY IS A REAL TESTAMENT TO THE POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF PERSEVERANCE, DETERMINATION AND POSITIVITY AND SHE'S THE EPITOME OF BETTER NEVER STOPS.
WE RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH LAUREN WHO EXPLAINED HER STORY AND WHAT LED TO HER PARTNERSHIP WITH US.
For as long as I can remember, I've had a passion for sport. Growing up I played for Brighton and Hove Albion and had an innate belief that I’d one day represent my country, playing football for England. However, in 2009 at the age of 13, a fall from a tree left me with a broken back and paralysed from the waist downwards. Knowing that I’d never regain the ability to walk, my footballing dreams were over and my future felt incredibly uncertain.
After an initial surgery to realign my spine and insert support rods to hold my back in a stable, fixed position, I realised the extent of my injuries, being unable to get out of bed, sit up and feed myself. As I began to regain use of my arms, I fashioned a makeshift basketball hoop out of a sick bowl and my IV drip to pass the time. My need to remain active became quickly apparent to the medical team around me and it became clear that a second surgery was on the cards for me to live an active life.
The metalwork that was currently in my back wasn’t suitable if I’d want to continue to be active and play sport, so doctors gave the decision to my parents, do I have a secondary high-risk surgery giving me the option to continue playing sport or do I keep with the current rods and live a more limited life. They made the decision to operate, one which I'm eternally grateful for. I was put on life support, had my diaphragm and both lungs collapsed and multiple ribs removed to insert a metal cage around my spine to provide additional stability.
After four weeks of recovery, I began rehabilitation, relearning basic skills and regaining my independence. It was here that I was given my first wheelchair and taught how to wheelie and navigate curbs, ramps and stairs; and despite falling out of my chair more times than I care to remember, I just enjoyed being active again.
Up until this point, disability sport hadn’t been on my radar and the prospect of playing competitively hadn’t crossed my mind. This is until I was scouted by Team GB talent scouts at a paralympic trial day and had my first introduction to wheelchair tennis.
After being discharged from hospital and completing my GCSEs, I dedicated my time to competing and after two years I’d reached the top of the world rankings, became junior world number one and won gold at the World Championships alongside my teammate, Alfie Hewett.
Now, I represent Great Britain at a senior level, competing around the globe and am proud to be ranked number four nationally and 40 internationally, having won 10 national awards, six national titles, 20 international titles and three world series. I was also honoured to be named as one of the countries most influential people with a disability in the Shaw Trust Power 100, one of only 11 athletes selected.
Looking to the future, I have two goals on the horizon. Firstly, to be successful in my career as a professional athlete, winning both grand slam titles and Paralympic medals and secondary to be an inspiration to others, not only those with a disability but every individual, regardless of gender, nationality or background.
I am elated to be part of the Castore team, the correlation between my story, my ambitions and my passions and Castore were clear and I am excited and honoured to represent the brand both on and off the court; as an ambassador alongside one of Britain’s most successful athletes, Andy Murray.
My footballing career came to an abrupt end but I have found happiness, goals, ambitions and a drive to succeed in another sport, an opportunity to achieve more once again, but for me, my goals don’t stop at sporting success. I want to use my story and experiences as a means of inspiring and positively impacting others, encouraging them to change their perceptions of their mental and physical capabilities. It’s true, better never stops and working alongside Castore I aim to continue to demonstrate this.