At just six weeks old Lauren Booth, now twelve, contracted bacterial meningitis. After a three week battle with the disease, during which she was resuscitated and fitted uncontrollably, she was allowed home. From then, life changed dramatically. Doctors predicted that she would never walk, talk or have any quality of life. Hospital visits, regular check-ups and CT scans showed that the severity of the meningitis left Lauren with permanent brain damage to the parts that deal with memory and speech. She also has hearing loss in one ear and cerebral palsy, affecting her left arm and leg, meaning she often struggles with balance.
Aged four, Lauren craved independence but, due to her disabilities, her mobility was restricted. With the help of a financial grant from the Meningitis Trust, Lauren was given a specially adapted trike to help her move around. This trike kick-started her love of cycling and gave her the independence she craved; building her self-confidence. She soon escaped into ‘Lauren’s World’.
Lauren has gone on to progress and defy medics by learning, through sheer determination, to ride a ‘normal’ bike – proving them wrong as they said that the cerebral palsy and deafness would severely affect her balance and that she couldn’t control a bike.
Lauren’s determination and passion for cycling has now moved towards track cycling after attending an open day for disabled cyclists. She had the opportunity to participate in a two hour session riding on, and above, the red line with other disabled riders, future and current, paralympians. Lauren was then invited to attend regular disabled rider training sessions held at the Newport Velodrome with Disability Sport Wales. Lauren participates in this every week.
In 2012 Lauren was voted ‘Britain’s biggest cycling fan’ in a competition run by Skyride. The prize being a trip to the Manchester Velodrome to ride with Sir Chris Hoy.
2013 proved to be the start of things to come, Lauren achieved amazing results in road racing, track cycling and time trialling, including a World Best time, however being only 12 she was too young to hold it as a World Record.
In 2014 Lauren was invited to attend British Cycling’s Paracycling Development training camps, alongside athletes hoping to compete in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Lauren stepped up to the next level in competitions in 2014, she competed in the British Cycling Youth National Championships, Sainsbury's UK School Games and the British Cycling Paratrack Championships. During the year Lauren broke 13 National Records and became the C Classification Track Time Trial National Champion.
2015 started with Lauren winning the Newport Paracycling International Youth Omnium and again achieving a World Best time in the Women’s C4 Paracycling Flying 200m time trial in 14.402 seconds. In August Lauren won British Cycling Junior & Youth Para-track Challenge in Manchester, breaking her own Flying 200m time trial National record.
2016 saw Lauren continue with British Cycling's paracycling program where she was invited to attend pathway training camps and 'Track2Tokyo' training days.
The 2017 HSBC UK National Track Championships at Manchester was a great start to the year with Lauren becoming double National Champion in Flying 200m Time Trial and Standing start 500m/1km Time Trial, where she competed against adult riders in the C1-5 Mixed events.