Fate brings together disabled couple after paralysed soldier meets amputee before she had her arm removed
Fate brought together a mum-of-mum and a paralysed army vet after they embarked on a whirlwind romance before she had her arm amputated.
Lisa Holden, 31, underwent emergency surgery to remove her right hand and lower arm after a rare vascular defect she had suffered from since childhood suddenly worsened.
But she said 28-year-old fiancé and former soldier Kirk Mount, who was left wheelchair-bound after a routine op failed, has inspired her with his nothing is impossible attitude.
And Lisa even admits it might have been FATE which brought her and Kirk, who served in the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery for seven years, together when they did.
The former teaching assistant, from Burnley, Lancs, said: “Kirk is amazing and has helped me adapt so much to life without an arm.
“He has definitely inspired me and made it easier for me to get over the surgery – just look at what he has been able to do himself.
“He is made of strong stuff, I guess we both are.
“I have never really thought about it being like fate before, but I suppose it could be.
“He has been through so much and just gets on with things so he has encouraged me to carry on as normal the best I can.”
Barrowford-born Lisa, who has a daughter from a previous relationship, nine-year-old Millie, suffers from arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
The rare vascular condition means blood vessels are tangled and do not properly connect and causes unbearable pain and ulcers.
Lisa, who was diagnosed more than 20 years ago, was frequently in and out of hospital due to complications caused by her condition and had discussed the possibility of a planned amputation in the next 12 months with doctors.
But medics made the life-changing decision to amputate her right arm from mid-way down her forearm last month after discovering an infection in her thumb has turned gangrenous.
Lisa discovered five years after giving birth to Millie that pregnancy hormones exacerbate her condition and doctors told her it worsen severely if she ever got pregnant again.
Happily, one silver lining of her amputation is that this risk is gone – opening the door for she and Kirk to have children in future if they choose to.
Lisa said: “The best way to describe my condition is that the blood vessels are like spaghetti – everything is mixed up and tangled – and I’d had problems with my hand and severe pain as far back as I can remember.
“But when I got pregnant that was when it really got worse and I started to go downhill.
“The last six months before the amputation were the most severe – I spent it in and out of hospital dosed up on five different types of antibiotics.
“I had no idea pregnancy made the condition worse until five years after having my daughter, because it’s so rare and hard to treat.
“Doctors told me I couldn’t risk having any more children because my condition could have become more serious.
“Kirk and I both already have our own children so we weren’t necessarily planning any more but these means never say never, the option is there now and if it happens it happens.
“I am still getting used to doing things with only one arm and it does feel strange but it has honestly been such a relief as for the first time there are periods when I am not in any pain at all.”
Lisa, who will soon be fitted with an NHS prosthetic limb, met Kirk on a night out in Burnley in January 2015 about six months after his botched operation.
The couple added each other on Facebook and quickly became inseparable before getting engaged in December 2015 after Kirk proposed multiple times and Lisa finally agreed.
Determined Kirk never fully recovered from a 16-hour operation to pin cracked vertebrae in his back in July 2014 and was left with a damaged spinal cord which paralysed him from the waist down.
But despite this the dad-of-two has taken up a host of extreme sports since leaving the forces – from cliff diving, archery and horse riding to climbing in the Lancashire hills.
This August he plans to undertake his most extreme challenge yet – ‘The Last Push’, which will see him cover 847 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End this August in just 28 days.
Kirk, who is dad to Olivia, six, and three-year-old Fynn from a previous relationship, is undertaking the challenge to raise £15,000 to pay for the day to day care for 13-year-old Tiffany Wrigley, who has rare central nervous system disorder Transverse Myelitis.
He will camp en-route, pulling a trailer behind his wheelchair with all his camping equipment, and hopes his gruelling trial will earn him a new Guinness World Record.
Kirk and Lisa do not yet have a date planned for their wedding but Kirk, a self-confessed ‘Groomzilla’, has joked about them eloping and tying the knot at Gretna Green during his charity challenge.
Kirk, who is originally from Sabden, Lancs, said: “Just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean there is anything you can’t do.
“Nothing is impossible, and that is what I always try to remember.
“I am really proud of Lisa for how she has taken it all in her stride – I think because she’d been through similar with me already she knew what could be done.”