‘Train like a Cheerleader’ star Esmee Gummer was told she would NEVER walk again!
We caught up with our ‘Train Like a Cheerleader’ star, Esmee Gummer to find out how she got into cheerleading – little did we know what was in stock. From overcoming a botched hernia operation and being told she would NEVER be able to walk again, Esmee is now not only walking but leaping around as a successful fitness guru with her first DVD out now.
Esmee was about to start college as a dancer at a performing arts college when she went into hospital for surgery. But a problem during the operation resulted in eight hours of seizures, which left her with severe physical and mental issues. When she finally woke she had no short-term memory at all and was completely paralysed from the waist down.
‘When I first came round, I had no muscle skills, I sounded drunk the whole time. I don’t remember much from those first three days, although my mum does, she had to tell me what was going on all the time. ‘Eventually everything started coming back, but the feeling in my legs didn’t, my legs were numb, they stuck needles in my feet and everything!’
‘I was a bit crazy saying I needed to go back to dance college, but they said you might not even walk again.’
After requesting physiotherapy numerous times Esmee eventually was permitted to try it out. ‘I was in there in bed 24 hours a day, so trying to wiggle my toes was something to do, that was where the mental strength came in.
‘Eventually they gave in, even though I couldn’t even feel the floor. I used to use my upper body a lot, trying to stand up. They took me down to the suite with the parallel bars, I was taking five minutes to take three steps. That went on every day twice a day for three weeks. After that I was allowed to be in a wheelchair so I could go outside. Once I was out, I had the wheelchair, I had dance physio on Sundays, I had to re-learn how to jump.’
She said: ‘The hardest thing was the comparison with what I could do before. I’d just done my last dance show and was learning to jump and lift one leg off the floor. I didn’t end up going to dance college, so I joined the cheerleaders for Crystal Palace and I got my personal trainer qualifications. That’s when I met Body in Balance who asked me to do a fitness DVD based on my gruelling training programme to be a
successful cheerleader’ based on my lessons from 1 Rebel.
‘People ask me how long it’s taken, but the truth is I’m still on that journey. It’s little things you take for granted, my balance still isn’t great, I wouldn’t say I had got back to what I was before. ‘The mental side of it all was the biggest. My confidence took a knock, my friends went to dance college and I was learning to walk again. I’ll never really dance again in the same way, it’s been a big battle, I’ve learnt a lot more from the mental rather than physical.
‘Any instructor can shout at you to keep going, but when I tell people what I’ve been through, it helps them, and that’s what I talk about in all my classes, I just want to give people strength, I’ve done the hard bit. ‘The doctors said when I was starting to walk, if I’d just said, “Okay, that’s it, I’m not walking again,” I wouldn’t be walking again now, my brain would have just stopped. ‘Since the beginning of this year I’m at my peak as a personal trainer, it’s been a really big year, feeling physically strong enough to motivate other people, and I’ve found what I want to do.’
Esmee’s DVD is out now and is the perfect gift for anyone wanting to try cheerleading or even just lead a fit, healthy lifestyle and get into the best shape of your life! Buy now.