Emma Gee used to hate swimming. Now, she couldn’t imagine life without it. In 2005, Emma underwent a risky surgical procedure to remove a tangle of blood vessels that had formed in her brain. At 24 years old, the Surrey Hills local was in the prime of her life, balancing work as an occupational therapist with a keen interest in running. She had run in a half-marathon only a few weeks earlier. The surgery was unsuccessful, and left Emma in a coma. After nine days she woke, unable to move or speak, and forced to face the stark reality of her new life. Now, over a decade later, Emma has come to terms with the fact that her running days are over. Far from letting her physical condition prevent her from living a normal life, Emma has turned tragedy into triumph and now runs her own business as a inspirational speaker, and is also gearing up to launch her new book ‘Reinventing Emma’ in March. She is a familiar face at Boroondara Sports Complex, where she gets in the pool and goes for a swim a few times a week in her trademark wetsuit. Before that, Emma started out at Kew Recreation Centre, where blowing bubbles in the water was the first task in a long and painstaking process in learning how to swim again. “Before my stroke I actually hated swimming, which is funny because of how much I enjoy it now,” she said. “It’s an amazing community at the YMCA. I have quite a bit of equipment which I can’t carry everywhere, so the centre is good enough to store it away in their storeroom. “Right from early on, the lifeguards always see me and bring over all my equipment for me. “When something like this happens to someone, it’s not just you that goes through it, it’s everyone around you. “It’s just amazing to have that support around you.” Emma is forced to endure daily pain as the result of her disability, something that is helped by time spent in the pool. Swimming is well known as a tremendous reliever of stress and pain, a sentiment shared totally by Emma. “Swimming to me is extremely physically and emotionally beneficial. “It gets me away from everything and I use it as a real outlet. “I don’t take medication for my pain; I use swimming as my medication”. Emma Gee’s book ‘Reinventing Emma’ launches in March, and will be available in book stores and online at www.emma-gee.com – See more at: https://www.bsc.boroondaraleisure.com.au/news/emma-turns-tragedy-into-triumph.html#sthash.0MkQwJLy.dpuf