She was only 13 when a rare spinal condition left her with no feeling below her chest. Despite this she went on to become a successful wheelchair racer and then rower, winning silver at the 2015 World Championships and gold at the 2016 Paralympics.
Now 21, her story of single-minded courage and an iron will to succeed has inspired thousands of others to follow her example and believe that anything is possible.
Lauren spoke to a large audience at Jurys Inn, Brighton, and left them with a powerful message. She said: ‘The phrase “anything is possible” is seen as cliché and somewhat generic, but to me, it is a mindset, a mindset I had as a seven-year-old girl with a dream that one day I might compete at the Olympic Games.
‘Despite becoming paralysed overnight at the age of thirteen, I still held on to that dream and four years later became a Paralympic Champion. Over the last eight years, I have learnt that no matter what hand you are dealt in life, however tough things are, if you have the right mindset, work ethic and support then anything is possible.
‘Not only have I managed to achieve what I have in the athletics and rowing arenas, but I am also now studying for a law degree. It really is all about one’s attitude of mind.’ Lauren Rowles MBE
The Charities Conference is an annual event run by the Steyning office of Top 50 accountancy and professional services firm TC Group.
It was organised by partner Mark Cummins, who specialises in the charity and education sectors. He said:
‘We were delighted with the attendance and covered a lot of ground, not only with Lauren’s very moving account of her struggle to overcome disability but also areas such as governance and law, finance and tax, HR and employee development, PR and media.
‘Our Charities Conference is now an annual fixture for the sector and continues to go from strength to strength.’