Balsall Common tree fall student hopes to inspire others

A medical student who was paralysed after he fell from a tree said he hoped he can inspire others through his positive approach to life.

Xander Van der Poll, from Balsall Common in Solihull, suffered a spinal injury at his parent’s house in 2017.

He said he wanted to remove barriers and encourage others with disabilities to live their lives to the full.

“People will tell you that you can’t do it and that kind of fuels you a little bit to show that,” he said.

“Especially if you know that you are able to.”

The medical student was the first disabled rower to join the University of Bristol Rowing Club in 2021.

He met his fiancée, Kirsty Taylor, when playing wheelchair basketball.

Despite having her leg amputated in 2022, the pair embarked on a backpacking trip this year and documented their travels on social media.

“It’s two wheels and one leg basically,” Ms Taylor said.

“I can’t always wear my prosthetic, most of time I do. I’m really lucky that it actually has worked out for me really well.”

The couple plan to marry next year when Mr Van der Poll graduates as a doctor and Ms Taylor as a physiotherapist.

“We’re always quite positive, and we just do it with joy and laughter and just make the most of whatever situation we’re in,” she said.

“If something’s going badly, that’s alright – we’ll sort it out by the end of the day, there’s no need to stress.”

Mr Van der Poll said there was a great quote that got him through the first days after his fall.

“Your old life is the price you pay for your new one,” he said.