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Horse racing community steps up to support injured Winnipeg jockey

07/20/2015 09:17 EDT | Updated 07/20/2016 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - The horse racing community across North America is rallying in support of a Winnipeg jockey who was paralyzed in a race last month.

Alyssa Selman, 29, told CTV Winnipeg on Monday that she is making "good progress" even though she has been told she has only a five per cent chance of ever walking again.

Selman was injured in a race at Winnipeg's Assiniboia Downs on June 27 when her horse clipped heels with another horse that was in front of it, throwing Selman to the ground.

Horse trainer Bob Baffert, whose famous mount American Pharaoh is the most recent Triple Crown winner, has sent memorabilia to Assiniboia Downs to be put up for sale and raise money for Selman's family.

"I hope this halter from the famous wonderful horse, who is spoiled rotten, can help you and your family," said Baffert in a video posted to YouTube. "Good luck to you."

The halter was on display at a fundraising event for Selman at the race track on Sunday. The collector's item is going up for auction on eBay, along with other collectibles, including famous American jockey Gary Stevens' boots and autographed Secretariat memorabilia.

"The amount of donations and caring, it's come from all over the world. That has surprised me," said Selman's friend Lori Mann.

Selman said she's using all of the support as motivation to get stronger.

"I would love to thank them all, I wouldn't know where to begin."

Her friends have also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money toward purchasing a wheelchair-accessible home. The group hopes to raise $20,000 and as of Monday night, nearly $11,700 had been collected.

Selman said the fall damaged her spinal cord, leaving her with no feeling from the chest down.

"It doesn't even feel like my body. It feels like I'm touching a mannequin's legs," Selman said.

The mother of two said the experience has put her through a rollercoaster of emotions, but she is trying to keep a realistic outlook about her future.

Selman said she wasn't surprised to hear that she only had a five per cent chance to walk again.

"It wasn't any big shock. The big shocks are the stories where people do end up walking," said Selman.

Despite the odds, Selman is working towards regaining her strength. She now spends most of her days in therapy, adapting to her newfound condition.

"I am making good progress. I'm getting used to the wheelchair and getting my upper-body mobility back," said Selman.

(CTV Winnipeg)

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