It’s not often that you have the pleasure of welcoming a Paralympian into your workplace – especially not a Paralympian with ten medals to their name. Yes, ten!
But that’s the pleasure that we at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions enjoyed, earlier this month, when Stephanie Millward visited our offices in Trowbridge.
Stephanie had not long returned from Rio, where she claimed five swimming medals to add to the five that she won in London four years ago. These included her very first Paralympic gold, secured with a brilliant, Games record-breaking performance in the Women’s 100m Backstroke (S8) final, which you can watch here. And they also included her second, achieved with the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay (34 points) team. Her haul from Rio was, in total, two gold, one silver and two bronze.
That’s an impressive tally by any measure, let alone for someone who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, aged 17, and who was told by her doctor that she should just give up swimming altogether. That was 18 years ago now, and, of course, Stephanie never did give up.
She tells the full story in her fantastic book Paying the Price. The short version is that she has struggled against pain, weakness and even the temporary loss of her eyesight to end up competing in three Paralympic Games. Her medals are testament to her success.
Stephanie is an inspirational figure for everyone, but perhaps especially so for us at Hitachi Capital.
Earlier this year, one of our team, Karen Grant, organised a bake sale to raise funds for Stephanie’s trip to Rio. This made £250, which Hitachi Capital then matched, meaning a total of £500. This made her visit to our offices, with all her medals, even more special – we could see and hear just how gainful that trip to Rio had been!
So what’s next for Stephanie?
A lot of hard work as she strives to qualify, as she intends to, for Tokyo 2020. We will be willing her on all the way. We’re proud to have been involved, in some way, with her medal success this year. We’re proud, even more so, of Stephanie herself.