A BRAVE teenager who almost lost her life after being hit by car is appealing to Observer readers to help achieve her dream of becoming a Paralympic star.
McAyla Johnston, who live in Foxwell Street in Battenhall, was left in a coma for ten days and spent two weeks in intensive care after she was struck by a car on her way to school in 2008.
The 16-year-old had to re-learn how to eat, drink, read, write and walk, but the former Nunnery Wood High School pupil was determined to defy the odds and she has now got her eyes fixed on a place at the Rio Games in 2016.
McAyla, who still struggles to walk and run, is currently national champion in javelin, discus and shot-put, but the talented athlete admitted her hopes of competing in the Paralympics would be all but over if she does not find a coach.
“I am really need to find a coach that will can push me and help get me higher than a national level,” she said. “I rely on the University of Worcester quite a lot to help, but there is only so much they can do.
“I also had a coach at Nunnery Wood Sports Centre but they could not quite cater for my needs, so I need a coach who is able to adapt his ways to mine and could understand me and know what I am trying to work on.
“It would be fantastic if I could find someone who is fairly close by. But time is ticking fast, so if I can’t get a coach soon then my chances of going to Rio will be very slim.”
Her inspirational story has seen her win the Pride of Britain award in 2011 before going on to carry the Olympic torch a year later, but McAyla said the Paralympics had also been her main goal.
The student at Worcester College of Technology is now set to take part in a pre-paralympic screening session at Loughborough University on Saturday, January 18
She added: “I desperately want to compete in Rio. Even before my accident I was always into running, but as I am unable to run I started practising throwing at Regency High School.
“I’m happy that I’m now being recognised as an athlete. It makes me feel special about myself, like I’m going somewhere in life. I just want to be known as ‘the athlete who made a difference.”
Anyone interested in coaching McAyla can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07716 304504