Image Copyright: Image © Kelda Wood

Kelda Wood

Kelda Wood is a former GB Para-Canoeist, the first para-rower to solo row over 3,000nm unsupported across the Atlantic and Founder of Climbing Out, a charity focused on helping rebuild confidence and self-esteem in people facing life changing injury, illness or trauma.

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Kelda started her sporting career playing netball at a national level as a teenager. Sport very quickly became the thing that defined who she was and the person she wanted to be. Her real passion lay with horses and her goal was to ride for her country and represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

Unfortunately, after a serious leg injury in 2002, Kelda’s hopes of competing at an international level seemed to have disappeared. The leg injury had a huge impact on her life, leaving her no longer able to run or play many of the sports that meant so much to her. This had a huge impact on her confidence and self-belief, and she spent nearly 10 years fighting to accept who she was.

In 2002, she decided to climb Kilimanjaro, and this proved to be the start of a new direction in life. She returned and began retraining as an outdoor instructor. As a result of the dramatic effect the outdoors had on her own mental and physical recovery, Kelda decided she wanted to help others facing similar challenges to herself, and this led her to set up the charity Climbing Out. The charity runs 5-day outdoor activity programmes aimed at rebuilding confidence and self-esteem in people facing life changing injury, illness or trauma.

Kelda Wood went on to represent Great Britain in Para-canoe and competed at the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World Championships, with her ultimate goal being the Rio Paralympics. Unfortunately, she just missed out on selection for Rio, but she went on to join an Adaptive Team attempting to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America at 7,000m. On the 19th January 2017, she became the first recorded adaptive female to summit the mountain.

In summiting, Kelda found many of the answers she’d been searching for since her injury and this inspired her to attempt a solo row of the Atlantic. The whole aim of the row was to inspire and motivate, so each day on the ocean she was rowing for a different young person who’d been through mental or physical trauma, sharing their individual stories online and through social media. Over 80 young people wrote and shared their stories through the Row to Raise campaign. After 76 days unsupported at sea, Kelda became the first adaptive person to ever solo row any ocean.

Kelda’s passion now lies in developing Climbing Out and supporting people to believe in themselves and what they can achieve.

I’ve worked with Kelda on more than one occasion – her energy, enthusiasm and passion is infectious, and it’s impossible not to be carried along by her amazing, inspirational stories of triumph in the face of adversity – she is a lesson to us all, that amazing things can be achieved by people who refuse to accept ‘no’ as an answer

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Kelda Wood

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