British teenager Isabelle Weall has set her sights on becoming a racing driver – despite having all four limbs amputated due to meningitis – after receiving an offer to join a motor racing group comprised of disabled drivers.
The 14-year-old, known as Izzy, contracted the disease at the age of seven, which tragically caused her to suffer a heart attack and multiple organ failure, as well as have her arms and legs amputated below the elbows and knees. She learned to walk again using leg blades after spending eight months in a wheelchair.
After learning of Izzy’s story, motor racing group Team BRIT, a competitive racing team comprised of ex or serving military troops who race against teams of able-bodied drivers, approached the girl with the proposal of teaching her how to drive a racing car.
In order to begin her racing courses, Izzy needed to buy a specially created car simulator for disabled people, so she could learn to drive at home in Derby, England, before moving to a real car with specially adapted controls.
Technology firm Vesaro, which cooperates with Team BRIT, offered Izzy the simulator for half the usual cost. Izzy’s parents set up a JustGiving page to raise the remaining £5,200 ($6,960), which they achieved within just eight days.
“The appeal seems to have captured people's imagination and we are delighted with the response it has had. We were not sure how well it would do,” Izzy's mother Cathy Lloyd said.
“Izzy has always wanted to drive a car and this great opportunity now allows her to do that. Her friends at school say she is something a local celebrity,” she added.
The girl, who is enormously excited to become the first quadruple amputee driver for Team BRIT, said that the entire training process will be broadcast on her YouTube channel, so people who helped her to buy the necessary equipment can check how the donated money is being used.
After she completes her course the simulator will be used by Team BRIT to provide other disabled drivers with the same opportunity. Following intensive driver development training, Team BRIT will make a decision whether the Izzy is ready to compete in races.
Izzy has already won several awards despite her disability. Last year she stunned her friends and family by winning her category of the trampoline competitions at the Schools National Trampolining Competition. In November, she received a Pride of Sport award as a young achiever.
Via her YouTube channel, which has over 2,000 subscribers, Izzy aims to inspire other amputees throughout the world, where she posts various videos, gives makeup tutorials and carries out challenges.
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