An inspirational woman with cerebral palsy has overcome her disability – to become a ZUMBA instructor.
Sam James, 34, stopped breathing when she was nine weeks old, starving her brain of oxygen and leaving her with a speech impediment, poor grip and weak muscles.
But when she was made redundant from her investment banking job she took up fitness training and became a Zumba instructor for disabled and able-bodied clients.
Just six months since qualifying she has already been nominated for a string of awards and said she is determined to keep overcoming her disability and prejudice.
Determined Sam, from Swindon, Wiltshire, said: “Though I’ve been successful there are still people who look down on me because they don’t want a disabled instructor.
“There is still some bias in the industry. I think it will take time for these barriers to actually come down.
“But I’m doing my bit to help. I am proof that there is room for disabled instructors out there.”
Sarah suffers from a slight speech impediment, poor grip in her left hand and weak right leg muscles.
But last November Sam enrolled on a fitness course and after completing it in January she qualified as a Zumba teacher a month later.
She has been nominated for the most inspirational instructor in the south and most outstanding support for activities for adults with additional or special needs at the national What’s On 4 Me? awards.
She said: “I was really surprised.
“I feel like I’m inspiring people and getting them to lose weight, get fit and have fun.
“There is nothing holding people back except for their own mindset.
“It’s about focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t do.
“If there are moves that I can’t do I don’t put them in my routine.”
“It would mean everything for me to win.
“It would prove that disabled people can be successful working in the industry. It would mean that everything I’ve been through is worth it.”
The winners of the awards will be announced in November, at the Ideal Home Show in Earl’s Court, London.