A firefighter and mum-of-two has been left paralysed from the waist down after she snapped her back in two, weightlifting at the gym.
Victoria Griffiths, 31, from Warrington, Cheshire, was lifting more than 20 stone, double her body weight, when she fell forwards, causing her body to jackknife.
Rushed by ambulance to Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool, where she had four-hour emergency surgery on her back, she now needs a wheelchair.
Doctors are unsure if she will be able to walk again after she suffered a break in two of the bones in her back and a dislocation that damaged her spinal cord.
Victoria explained: “I know that the worst case is that I might be in a wheelchair and I’m not going to walk, but I have to come to terms to it as best I can.
“These things happen and I’m the sort of person who thinks that you just have to get on with it and find another path to get where you need to be.”
Victoria, whose partner Dave Parr, 35, is an investment banker, joined a gym after the birth of her youngest son Noah, now four.
In January she became one of only 32 female firefighters in Cheshire.
Her intense job meant she needed to stay fit and strong, so she went to the gym at Birchwood Leisure centre near Warrington every day.
But, on March 17 one of her regular routines went drastically wrong.
Victoria, also a mum to Luke, 10, said: “I was doing step-ups on an aerobic step and I had a bar on the back of my neck, carrying 130kg, which is about 20 stone.
“I stepped up with my right leg and left leg and got straight back down, but I wobbled and because of the weight of the bar, I fell forwards rather than backwards.
“It basically folded me in half. It’s like leaning down and touching your toes and someone coming and shoving you that extra little bit further.”
Last week, Victoria was moved to a spinal injuries rehabilitation unit to continue her recovery.
Her injuries mean she is unable to move from her belly button down and doctors are still assessing her and she is undergoing rehab but they believe it is unlikely she will be able to walk again.
Vicki and her partner, Dave, are in the process of buying their first home together and friends and family have set up a JustGiving page, to raise money to help.