Shapemaster are delighted to be supporting Dr Sara Payne MBE on her fight to regain independence and mobility, following the severe physical effects from a stroke 6 years ago.

The aftermath of the stroke which left Sara with left side paralysis prevented her from doing everyday tasks. It also left her reliant on family members as well as being housebound.

For a woman who had just turned 40 at the time, the road to recovery seemed a very long journey away. Sara commented, “The stroke was just devastating. I had established my own Victims Advocacy team at ‘The Phoenix’ and I was working as Victims Champion under Gordon Brown’s Government at the time, so my job was pretty intense and involved working with people at the very highest level of authority helping to change and make laws.  And after waking up from the Stroke my communication skills were limited, it even took me 6 months to train my brain to send an email. Needless to say the Stroke wiped out my ability to work overnight”.

Sara had spent the previous 12 years campaigning tirelessly for Sarah’s Law which had finally gone nationwide. “I have always campaigned against the sex offenders ‘secret keeping culture’ systemic Anti-Victim Prejudice and for drug & prejudice free civilian Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) treatment and always will, added to that now, is my personal battle to show this stroke ‘who the boss is’ in my life .”
The years that followed were hard for Sara and the physical rehabilitation support she received from public services were often sporadic and inconsistent, which had all taken a very real toll on her recovery. So, after years of inadequate unhelpful services, Sara, her friends and family set about putting in place the real care and recovery ‘makeover’ package that would actually help the now Dr Sara Payne MBE to take the next big step in her life, to her new recovery, her new future and her new job as a teacher at the Phoenix PTSD Garden.
The Sara ‘makeover package’ (which will culminate in a groundbreaking photo shoot) plan was set up last year and the team put out a call for help as it was clear to them they were going to need specialised bespoke help from the very best in their field. “That is when we met the wonderful people at Shapemaster”, added Sara.

Shapemaster set to work on customising the Seated Climber so that Sara could exercise safely. Howard Blackburn, Managing Director at Shapemaster commented, “Because of Sara’s extensive left side paralysis, foot drop and severly contracted hand we had to apply modifications to some of the key components of the machine. We’d already designed a positioning glove which enabled Sara to perform the upper limb movements safely and securely. The task was then to create an AFO type device which would allow for lower limb movement (to exercise both passively & actively), whilst still being accessible for Sara to get on and off the machine single handed”.

Dr Sarah Payne Exercising

The engineering team at Shapemaster developed a pivoting footplate, with posterior strut which could also be held in a fixed position. “I can’t thank Shapemaster enough. The customisation to the machine has enabled me to exercise for the first time in six years. And to date I can honestly say that I have regained a more confident post stroke mobility and a healthy weight loss” said Sara. It has given me the boost I really needed, I’m in talks right now about writing new books, a film and am getting a step closer to the Phoenix PTSD garden every day, I can’t possibly thank Shapemaster enough for helping me back to better health, I feel more ready than I’ve ever been to take the next big step in my life.

Sara is now exercising with the new Shapemaster Cross Cycle and is also helping to support further research & development into enhancing the Shapemaster product offering for those living with long term conditions.
In addition, her Co-Chief Advocate and best friend Shy Keenan at the Phoenix says, ” The last few months with Shapemaster have been like watching magic happen, getting her health and mobility back has transformed Sara’s life and mindset, we are looking ahead now rather than just trying to keep up.” Both Shy & Sara work at the registered not for profit company The Phoenix whose mission is to deliver education for a better understanding of Anti-Victim Prejudice, promoting good Emotional Health Services and working in the development & delivery of drug-free civilian PTSD management tools.

For further information on their remarkable work please visit: