Alton Towers Amputee Vicky Balch Hits Back As Trolls Mock Lingerie Photos
Brave Alton Towers rollercoaster crash amputee Vicky Balch has come out fighting after trolls mocked her for posing for a lingerie shoot.
The 21-year-old beauty, who lost her right leg in last year’s horror theme park accident, has blasted their attacks as a hate crime against the disabled.
And today she’s defiantly hitting back at her critics with another set of knockout pictures – this time at a boxing gym.
But it’s gloves off for Vicky when it comes to taking on social media bullies hiding behind their screens.
Vicky was left reeling after taking the difficult decision to pose for the tasteful boudoir photoshoot – a birthday present from a friend – as part of her bid to rebuild her confidence in her body.
The pictures, published in the Sunday Mirror last month, prompted a huge outpouring of affection and respect for her, and also sparked dozens of offers of dates and even two proposals.
But soon she was reduced to tears as Twitter trolls weighed in, calling her vile names and suggested she was “milking” her accident.
She says she has no regrets about sharing her lingerie images with the world. “I’m only human and the negative comments about the shoot did upset me,” she says.
“But even at my lowest points I haven’t regretted it for a second.
“The attacks on me have made me realise people who target the disabled online are just as bad as people who are racist or homophobic. They should be treated in the same way – even if it means them being sent to jail.
“I’m sure they’d think twice about slagging someone off based on the colour of their skin or their sexuality, knowing they could get into trouble – yet they think I’m fair game because I’ve lost a leg.
“Since the accident, I’ve had some awful comments even before I did the photoshoot. Barely a month after it happened, one person told me I should die.”
Vicky was seriously injured when the Smiler rollercoaster at the Staffordshire theme park crashed into a stationary carriage last June.
Both she and another passenger, 19-year-old Leah Washington , were so badly crushed they lost a leg. Another 15 people were injured.
Since then, Vicky has spoken candidly about the accident and her bid to adjust to her new life – but trolls have blasted her relentlessly. One even took to YouTube to make a video claiming the crash was a hoax and she was an actress.
Vicky, of Grismargh near Preston, Lancs, says: “I was broken then but now I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and I’ve learned not to let bullies win or stoop to their level.
“If someone said that to me now, I’d call the police because it’s a hate crime. Yet I’ve also been moved to tears by the positive comments.
“A woman with terminal cancer emailed to tell me I’d shown her she could feel sexy despite losing her hair. I was asked on dozens of dates and two men even proposed.
“But it hasn’t just made me feel sexy again. It’s inspired others who have struggled to feel confident in their own skin.”
Vicky was given the boudoir shoot as a 21st present from her best pal Hanna. She came close to cancelling when she had a crisis of confidence in the changing rooms at Ann Summers as she tried on sexy lingerie for the first time since her accident.
But when staff at the store reassured her she looked wonderful, she decided to go ahead – spontaneously removing her prosthetic leg for some of the most daring shots.
Vicky was so thrilled with the pictures she cried when she first saw them and courageously decided to share them.
She says: “It wasn’t easy. I knew there was a chance I’d get some backlash from people with nothing better to do than sit behind a keyboard and slag others off.
“But I discussed with my family and some close friends and they were right behind me. We all agreed that I needed to show the world you can still be sexy after life-changing injuries – for my own sake, but also for all the other people in the same position.”
As soon as we published the pictures, messages flooded in for Vicky. Most were positive, with both men and women complimenting her body and telling her she was inspirational for posing without her prosthetic leg.
But then the trolls started up. One branded her a “famewh**e” and another said she was a “slag”.
Others accused her of being a “narcissist” and an “attention seeker”. She admits: “I did cry. It hurts to think people would suggest that I released the images as a cheap publicity stunt when the exact opposite is true.
“As I cried, I wished these trolls could understand how much courage it took to share these pictures. They don’t realise how much pain I’m still in, and how each day I struggle to do things we all take for granted.
“Every morning, I wake up and when I see my stump I’m reminded of what I’ve lost. It takes me a long time to put my prosthetic leg on and often I’m very sore. Some days, I can’t even make a cup of tea because standing is so painful.
“And as well as the physical pain, there is the emotional struggle. I’ve been in tears looking at my reflection in the mirror, fearing like I’d never feel attractive again.
“I’ve also turned down dates because I’m scared men will be embarrassed by my disability, or see me as a burden.
“How would the trolls feel if they lived my life for just one day? I try not to respond to negative comments, but I was just so frustrated and angry. I went on Twitter and wrote a post saying I wasn’t milking my accident but trying to make disability less of a taboo.”
Vicky has become a poster girl for strength and survival thanks to the remarkable way she has dealt with the aftermath of the crash.
She says: “I like to think I’ve developed a thick skin but the nasty comments do still get to me when I’m having a bad day.
“But I have wonderful family and friends around me who can pick me up when I’m down. They soon help me to see that the opinions of these people don’t matter.
“They remind me no one is forcing them to look at my pictures or listen to what has happened to me – and that they obviously don’t have anything better to do.
“Yet I dread to think how different it could be for a disabled person who doesn’t have the support network I do.
“Not everyone would be able to cope with the abuse, and that’s frightening.”
While Vicky sometimes longs for her old life, she believes the accident has made her a better person.
She says: “There are days when I’d give anything to have my leg back, but what I’ve been through has made me the woman I am today. It’s made me so grateful for the people I have around me and it’s taught me that you should never judge a book by its cover.
“You don’t have a clue what someone is going through behind closed doors, no matter how things appear from the outside.
“Maybe the trolls would prefer it if I hid away in a room, ashamed of my new body. But I won’t do that.
“I’m stronger than ever – and no one sitting behind a keyboard will knock me down.”