Sporting Superstar Marni's Inspirational Journey with Amputation

Get ready to be inspired by the incredible journey of Marni Voak, a 16-year-old force of nature from Hertfordshire who's been unstoppable in her mission to conquer life's challenges.

With an above left knee amputation and a passion for amputee football, discover how Marni uses her Cool Crutches as a style statement, while kicking boundaries to the curb.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the nature of your disability?

My name is Marni Voak, I am 16 years old and live in Hertfordshire. I have an above left knee amputation and have been using crutches since I was five years old.

How long have you been living with a disability and how has it affected your daily life both physically and mentally?

Since birth. Being in and out of hospital so much comes with many challenges mentally and physically. I lived with chronic pain in my deformed leg. This meant I missed out on school and a social life, I was in so much pain I couldn't sleep. The hospitals would change their plans for my care which would leave me frustrated and struggling over the lack of control.

Growing up before amputation

Can you tell us how you became a professional amputee football player? How has this impacted your life?

I found out about amputee football through social media soon after my surgery. I knew that's what I wanted to do so I started practising. I found the EAFA (England Amputee Football Association) through social media and the rest is history! I now train with Arsenal and the EAFA Juniors as well as playing for Chelsea. This year I was the only girl selected to represent the EAFA juniors in Poland. 

Many players from different parts of the world came together to learn and grow. I am now joining the first ever Woman's England Amputee team and am excited for the future ahead. Football is life! The EAFA have given me so many incredible opportunities and are my family. My coach at the EAFA, Harry Smith has a motto at amp camp “Fall down seven, get up eight.” and it's the best advice.

Do you feel adjusting to a disability is supported by society? How could this be better?

Not entirely no. I think parts of society have a lot of development needed as far as accessibility and education around disabilities go. I think inclusive communities are important — to have other people that understand the struggle is one of the most important things.

Are there any things you've found have helped support you or impacted your mental health in a positive way when it comes to living with a disability?

Finding other people that understand and are in similar situations is so important to not feel alone, and that helps adjusting to the world we live in. Also, having crutches from Cool Crutches and having mobility aids that are fun and make me feel more confident is a huge support.

What is your biggest struggle living with your disability?

Pain is definitely one from a physical point of view as well as finding accessible places so that I can live like everyone else.

What advice would you give to someone facing a life changing diagnosis or injury?

It does get better. Even though it's hard you can learn to live with these adjustments and continue to live your life.

If you could change one thing to improve the lives of disabled people, what would it be?

Educating the world and able bodied society as to how disabled people live and what can be changed to make our lives easier.

When did you start using Cool Crutches or Sticks or both, and why?

When I was 14/15 before my amputation because I used crutches full time and was bored of my dull crutches. These crutches are more comfortable and look amazing. As a teenage girl, having them as bright and colourful and cheerful just makes me happier.

Do you think Cool Crutches have helped you to move more or walk better?

100% walking is more comfortable with these crutches and that encourages me to use them and show them off as much as possible.

Have Cool Crutches changed your view of mobility aids at all?

Yes I look at my crutches with excitement and a tool that I'm comfortable using rather than an unfortunate necessity.

How do businesses like Cool Crutches help the disabled community?

Help? They change the game! Having something that is part of your everyday living that you can customise to fit your passion, interests and personality is amazing. They have been a positive talking point throughout my day to day life, starting from when I got my very first Cool Crutches.

If you could have a dream day out with anyone, doing anything, who would it be with and what would you be doing?

Football game with my best mate and then dinner (simple but perfect).

What's the best advice you've been given?

If something you love/want is difficult it is because it is worth fighting for.

Marni sets an incredible example for others; her use of Cool Crutches goes beyond functionality, it's a way to express her unique personality and style — turning mobility aids into a confident sporty statement!

Meet more of the Cool Crutches community…

Fitness to Resilience: Meg Embraces Change with Cool Crutches

The Importance Of Community When Living With A Long-Term Disability With Eliza

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