Eireann’s living life in the fast lane
As a young girl Eireann was a powerhouse athlete with diplegic cerebral palsy.
She was so good in fact that from ages 7-12 she reigned supreme as a Para Athletic champion. Back then, Eireann’s NDIS support provided her physical therapy and community connection to chase her athletic dreams.
Eireann conquered many events, but her proudest and most exciting sporting achievement was taking part in The Krazy Kosci Klimb. This Cerebral Palsy Alliance fundraising event gives people with cerebral palsy the chance of a lifetime – to scale Mt Kosciuszko with their support teams. It was an eventful journey, but just two weeks before another major competition, an unexpected Achilles injury threw a curveball her way. Over the years, Eireann had undergone many operations, but this time she faced the challenge of calf-lengthening surgery.
“What was meant to take 45 minutes, turned into a three-hour marathon and dashed her hopes of running for quite some time,” says Beke Pyne, Eireann’s mother and biggest cheer leader.
“She spent some time not being able to walk at all, then had intensive physiotherapy for 18 months through the hospital and the support of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.”
Since then, Eireann has been on a journey with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, rehabilitation services and exercise physiology. With the help of assistive technology funded through NDIS, she’s back doing what she loves, including the wildly popular frame running.
Her proud mum says, “She has been able to build her physical capacity to train and participate in social and community activities, she now accesses sporting groups and events and even competes in frame running competitions.”
“Frame running gives her a sense of freedom. When she’s at full pace, she absolutely flies! She can do 100m in 17.8 seconds. Somebody who is able-bodied can’t do that a lot of the time.”
What is frame running you may ask?
After one of Eireann’s surgeries, Claire her physiotherapist suggested she try a piece of equipment called a frame runner, a custom-built three-wheeled frame with saddle and chest support so the user can propel themselves forward with their feet, using their hands to steer.
Beke recalls the first time they took it for a spin. “We took the frame runner down to the car park and Eireann absolutely took off like a rocket!”
Initially used for rehab and pain-free walking, it soon became Eireann’s ticket to unstoppable success. She began using this innovative equipment to train in frame running (aka RaceRunning ) at the Australian Institute of Sport, and at that time she was fastest female in her age group in the country!
“Frame running allows me to get down the track without fear of breaking my tendons or injuring myself,” Eireann explains.
At the age of 14, Eireann met her hero, national frame running champion Amy Tobin. Inspired by her hero, Eireann decided to start a frame running club in Canberra, and she didn’t just walk the talk—she ran with it! Fast forward three years, and Eireann and her mum are now coaching around a dozen eager athletes every Monday at the Australian Institute of Sport. With Beke as the head coach and Eireann as the trusty assistant, they’re the dream team. In her own personal training, Eireann has been taking on longer challenges.
“I did a 10km. I fell over at the 8km mark but I was fine, and I had my OT with me,” Eireann says. “I did it in the pouring rain and freezing cold in one hour and 10 minutes.”
Eireann is now setting her sights on a half marathon.
Embracing her three passions – speed, sport and socialising
But Eireann isn’t just about sports; she’s all about giving back too. She’s been a volunteer extraordinaire, lending a helping hand to the Cancer Council, the local CPA, and disability expos in her community. Currently, she’s also flexing her skills at the Heartbeat Cafe, learning the ropes of running a cafe, from barista magic to growing fresh herbs, and customer service.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. Eireann recently participated in the Canberra Disability Expo, where she met and introduced many new people to frame running. And to top it off, their booth won the award for Best Small Business/Community. Eireann was also spotted wowing the crowds at a Feros Care event earlier this year, where attendees got a taste of frame running.
Support that leads to independence
Through it all, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) has been a steadfast ally, supporting Eireann even as she faces new physical challenges. With grace and determination, she’s conquering stiffness and transitioning from pediatric to adult care.
As part of the support provided by CPA, Eireann has dabbled in cooking schools, started driving lessons and joined holiday groups. Now, as a home-schooled young adult, she’s eyeing the next milestone—moving out of home once she finishes Year 12. Her goal? Complete independence, from work to driving and beyond.
Eireann, a shining example of how unstoppable determination and unwavering support can turn any hurdle into a stepping stone. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience and the joy of reaching new heights, even when life throws you a curveball.
If you’d like to find out how Feros Care can help you run your own race, click here or call 1300 986 970.