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All stories of recovery

Getting back on my bike after my serious crash

British Cycling volunteer Karen is back doing what she loves most.
DOTS Karen Maddock Jones web sqr

It was an unusually hot November day. The perfect conditions for a recce on my bicycle - something I was beginning to do more as a Breeze leader for British Cycling.

I’ve always loved getting out on my bike. Cycling gave me a new focus after recently taking voluntary redundancy from a desk job.

As I was riding along, a car turned across me.

That’s when the car hit me and knocked me to the floor.

As it hit me, I thought ‘this is it, I'm dead’. I woke up realising I was still alive but in severe pain.

My pelvis was fractured in five places. My ribs and collarbone were broken. My world was turned upside down instantly.

The specialist trauma and orthopaedic staff at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea, were wonderful. They put me back together again over the next month.

At the age of 57, I learned that I might be too old for specialist pelvic reconstruction. Fortunately, due to all the cycling I did, my muscle tone was good and they operated.

When I left hospital, I couldn’t return to my own home.

I lived on the top two floors of a three-storey house. I would spend the next three-and-a-half months in a wheelchair. My own home was no longer suitable for me.

Thankfully, my partner lived in a bungalow, so I could move in with him. He lived in a different county though so my follow-up care when I left hospital was a nightmare.

I was fortunate. I had cycling insurance in place. A solicitor from Leigh Day was appointed and put everything in place that I needed. Without that, I don’t know how I would have managed or how my recovery would have been.

My occupational therapist (OT) was a fairy godmother. She helped with so much. Some of the help was with little things like finding a bath seat to enable me to shower as the shower was over a bath. Being able to shower meant so much to me.

The physio support out of hospital was also limited. I felt like I was left to get on with it on my own. Again, my OT found a physiotherapist for me, who I spent the next two years with rebuilding my strength.

The NHS is brilliant at putting you together again, but it doesn’t help with the rehabilitation.

Without the private rehab I had access to, I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am now. And I recognise that. Recovery takes a really long time.

That’s why I was inspired to fundraise for Day One. So the charity can help people who aren’t as fortunate as me and don’t know where to turn.

I know what it is like to be in that situation when your world is turned upside down. You need practical and emotional help and don’t need the extra pressures that puts on you, when you should be focussing on your recovery.

It’s fantastic that Day One is there to help with this and I believe they should be available to more people.

Since you’re here…

…we have a small favour to ask.

More people than ever need Day One’s support, but we don’t have the income to keep up with demand.

We’re determined to help people rebuild their lives after a catastrophic injury, wherever they are in the country.

If this page has inspired or moved you, please consider chipping in to help. We can achieve great things with you by our side, so please consider supporting Day One.

You can give as little as £1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

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