Running on the treadmill with her shiny blond ponytail swinging in the air, 15-year-old Freya Lewis looks like any other carefree teenger. But just a year ago, she was lying unconscious in hospital fighting for her life.
Freya had been at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on May 22 last year when a suicide bomber detonated a device in the foyer, killing 22 people and injuring 59.
She suffered multiple fractures, lacerations and burns after being hit by shrapnel from the blast, which killed one of her best friends, Nell Jones, 14.
Freya underwent multiple operations – one lasting more than 10 hours – and was at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for almost five weeks.
In those early days, doctors feared she may never walk again. But, she worked tirelessly with her physio, and after three months in a wheelchair, was back on her feet before she started school again that September.
It was a huge milestone, and to say thank you to all the staff at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for helping to save her life, Freya signed up to the Great Manchester Run with her dad, Nick, to raise funds for the Paediatric Critical Care Unit.
In January this year, Freya started training at the gym twice a week. And within just four months, the fiercely determined teen, who confessed to never being one for sports in the past, managed to hit the 2.5k mark on the treadmill. Proud mum, Alison, says: “She sets herself these goals and is so determined. She is a remarkable girl and has shown the most incredible strength.”
So far, Freya and her family have managed to raise £27,000 for the hospital and presented a cheque to nurses who helped her, at an assembly at her school, Holmes Chapel Comprehensive in Cheshire.
The schoolgirl has also helped make sure her friend Nell is never forgotten, working with her school to launch a short story competition in her memory, which will be held each year. A Garden of Memories, inspired by Nell, has also been created at the school.
Mum Alison says. “We know that fate could have dealt us a completely different hand and the fact that is she still here is an absolute miracle. We owe her life to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital which is why we are doing everything we can to help them - and will do for the rest of our lives. People have been so kind to us and we will never forget.”