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Nicki Donnelly age 34 years,(born 20 November 1982) served as a West Midlands Police Officer for nearly ten years right after her 18th birthday. She was training within the Specialised Firearms Department when she was involved in a road traffic collision. In 2009 Nicki was severely assaulted on duty and on a separate incident was hit by speeding car and she was subsequently attacked. Nicki sustained a host of injuries that led to two years living in brain and spinal injuries specialist hospitals away from her daughter. Nicki fractured her shoulder,eye socket, collar bone, suffered a broken back, hip, pelvic ,fractured wrist and jaw. Nicki was unable to communicate as her speech muscles were damaged and her arms were fractured. She also lost her hair,her body turned to sticks and bones.
Nicki also had brain damage. Over time following the accident, treatments weren’t working and rehabilitation in hospital was proving unsuccessful and required receiving fulltime care to be fed, washed, dressed and bladder and bowl management. Medical professionals had informed Nicki and her family that Nicki’s body had literally was wasting away and the likelihood of surviving was slim. Nicki nearly died when her daughter reminded her mum that her love and bond was and is powerful and nothing would change her mum being her mum . Ultimately Nicki was left her paralyzed from the chest down and limited her function in her fingers and hands with t4 complete. Following the incident, she was retired from the West Midlands Police force with six bravery commendations and received a medal of exemplary bravery for having served her country .
Nicki successfully completed her education despite being dyslexic and was born with a genetic condition, degenerative bone and Joint disease. Nicki’s battle to fight to survive had already begun from childhood. Having no role models she learnt to become her own role model in order to be who she is now. Believing in herself she was and is qualified in:
Child Psychology degree, CBT Therapist degree, Teaching Assistant Level 2 and 3, SEN TA level 3, Fitness and Nutrition Trainer level 4 and with her extensive skills and experiences from her a police Background of Family and Child Profiler and Interviewer, Investigator ,Vulnerable children and Adults officer, School Liaison Officer, Self Defence and Weapons Handling, Effective communication and body language training, First aider and defibrillator training, Search and Reassure, expert Witness for Court Proceedings , Translator for terrorism Unit, Police Driver , Supervision Training, Tactical Training. These are some of Nicki’s skills and training that has defined her along with her integrity and reputation to be Exemplary Role Model.
Nicki’s dream career was as a Police Officer. Her Police Identity was hard to let go when she had no choice but to be told she was medically discharged from the police force. Nicki had struggled even with records of successful convictions and 6 bravery commendations throughout her Police Service where she put her own live in danger to save and help victims . These awards are given to show recognition to officers who go above and beyond their normal duties with limited resources and information given at that time to make split second decisions. .
Tired of being treated irrelevant and insignificant, being turned down at interviews because she was over qualified or they couldn’t accommodate my wheelchair. Nicki soon learn she had to start her own business in order to keep working. Nicki started gathering thousands of supporters on her social media where she shared her journey for her fight to and accepted as a mother with disabilities. She began fighting for her disability rights and freedom of speech for society to make the changes to include people with disabilities. Nicki became a voice for 12.5 million people with disabilities in the UK. Nicki used her Police identity as her Strength to remind her she was and is capable being more than what society see her as a barrier. Nicki’s story started generating interest in local papers, tv stations such as itv Lorraine, this morning, Channel 5, BBC1 and public figures.
Nicki went back into her fitness training to find ways how to help others to get fit and healthy by training herself and sharing this on her social media. It wasn’t easy because she used a gym that wasn’t wheelchair friendly so she had to adapt. She soon became a valuable asset for the local Gym. Nicki is a independent swimmer something she longed for and the training paid of for Nicki to become a confident swimmer.
Nicki shares her wheelchair workout tips on her successful youtube channel:
Nicki started modelling to raise awareness for disabilities and diversities because she recognised the difficulties of fashion industries attitudes towards people like herself. She found she was not represented in true light and decided to do modelling as a way to be taken seriously. This is something she still does and works as a freelance Model often booked by high profile clients which can be seen on her sites.
Nicki appeared as wheelchair racer in the iconic Paralympic YES I can commercial on channel 4. Unfortunately Nicki was no longer able to compete professional due to a life threatening condition. This didn’t Stop Nicki pursuing her list of possibilities.
Following an extensive selection and interview process, Nicki Donnelly was introduced to ReWalk’s technology in 2016, and the Gerald Ronson Family Foundation donated her Personal System in April 2016 in recognition of her Police service. On 4 September, Donnelly showcased her ReWalk system and walking skills at the inaugural Parallel UK Races, where she participated in the 1K race wearing her exoskeleton to walk with her daughter on her tenth birthday. Her daughter’s third birthday wish for her mum to walk again finally came true. Nicki is the first UK officer to receive her own Rewalk system in the UK and she became the first paralyzed officer in the world to walk independently in 7 hours using the Rewalk technology. Nicki also achieved her another dream and walk proudly with her daughter in the half marathon race in Birmingham where she once served as a Police Officer. To walk 2.5 hours completing 2.5k with her daughter was another Achievement for both. Nicki is making all these memories for her daughter because her health continues to deteriate with a short life span of 50 years of age.
Today, Nicki works tirelessly fundraising to promote a positive image and raise awareness of spinal cord injury. She also works on several initiatives for disabled people. Nicki supports for many organisations including Disabled Police Association, Models of Diversity, Spinal Injuries Association and HMSA/EDS which is personal to her daughters disabilities. Nicki remains grounded and still makes time as a practising Catholic regularly attends her local church and volunteers in the Choir and as Religious Studies Teacher teaching Sunday Liturgy to the children of the Parish and School now takes pride in her main role as a motivational speaker, inspired by her personal story.
Just as Nicki started her new journey in 2016 she put the ReWalk technology first above everything else. What the public didn’t see was the hard work and effects it took for Nicki to make the Technology work to the best and become face for UK ReWalk. Unfortunately Nicki is no longer able to use her robotic legs due to life threatening condition where her heart can suddenly stop from standing. Her device was takenfrom the company and donated to another person to use. She continues to share her emotional and painful Rewalk journey in her talks as a way to educate and inspire others of how powerful human minds can be than relying on technology. Nicki uses her my self-healing approach to talk to the audience and give listeners tools to expand their minds and strength their own beliefs of possibilities are endless.
Nicki is now recognised as an “Inspirational Role model”, a title that was awarded to her by the Birmingham Lord Mayor. Kevin Spacey also recognised Donnelly as an “Influential key note speaker with a story to tell”.
Nicki is writing her first book which will change readers way of life and thinking. The book is about Nicki's challenging life story that turned into a self healing book for others to read when its ready to be published. Now have a look at Nicki's challenges page to find out more about Nicki.