Ian's Story

Ian, a successful chartered Architect, was involved in an accident which changed his life forever. As someone who loves the outdoor life, Ian regularly pursued his interests of cycling, walking and mountaineering. It was during one of his weekly evening bike rides with a group of friends that Ian was thrown over the handlebars of his bike and fell awkwardly on his back. He spent months in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital having operations and rehabilitative treatment, but, as a result of the accident, Ian is now paralysed from his chest down.

“My whole life was turned upside down”

The year after his accident, a friend of Ian’s who had received support from the Society suggested to Ian that he make contact with us for help. We were able to fund the purchase of a lightweight adjustable wheelchair, enabling Ian to become more independent and to pursue his love of the outdoors again. His NHS wheelchair is not suitable for going off road and so he has found this specialist wheelchair invaluable in allowing him to enjoy the outdoors and regain some independence. The lightweight wheelchair also means that Ian can take it apart and stow it away in his adapted car on his own, thus giving him back some more of his independence.

The Society also gives a monthly grant to Ian to help with the increased expenses of having to pay others to do things around the house and garden which he would previously have done himself. Ian says this has taken some of the financial stress and worry out of the whole situation.

Ian has been unable to work since his accident two years ago, but is determined to do so in the near future. Ironically, his architectural practice specialised in the design of medical centres and primary care settings, and he commented that he has now become “a user of services rather than a provider of services”, something he never expected to happen.

Ian has faced the enormity of the adjustment to his life with great determination and is starting to get back to enjoying some of the things he loves. He is due to go on his first holiday with his mountaineering friends two years on from his accident. Although it will be a different experience this time, with adjustments to the routes and some physical help from his friends, it is one which he is looking forward to, and marks an important milestone in his new life.

Ian has found help from the ABS valuable during such a difficult time.

ABS has been brilliant in supporting me at a time of crisis in my life, with practical advice, regarding access to welfare and NHS services along with financial help. They have maintained contact and support over the last 18 months whilst I rebuild my life and adapt my house for my new life. I hope to get back to work and take up hand cycling in the coming year once the house extension and adaptions works are completed.”

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