Monthly Archives: June 2015

Walkabout Foundation.

I have so much to say about Saturday night, yet have had so little time since to write it.

My God, it BY FAR the most glamorous event we’ve ever been to ( more amazing than going to a dinner hosted by Charles and Camilla a few years ago in Buckingham Palace ).

I’ve never seen so many beautiful women in one place, at the same time.
No idea why but their husbands all looked a bit older than them.

The event started in ‘side hall’ of the Museum, with champagne and canapés.
Then we were guided into the main atrium, that huge hall at the front with the giant Brontasaurus skeleton in it.

There were about 70 tables of ten people, maybe, everyone in Black Tie.
I was in that chair that elevates me to a standing position ( hugely beneficial in social situations where everyone else is upright )

I don’t know who the rich and jet set of London are, but I imagine they all know each other ( the wealthy, the beautiful, the highly paid sports stars etc ) and most seemed to be at tables towards the front.
We were on a table of eminent doctors and representatives of the Christopher Reeves Foundation.
Reg Egerton ( the genius who thought of using an epidural implant ) was sat next to Dani – and what a lovely, modest guy.

After an intro speech by Tanya Bryer, the big draw , Bill Clinton, spoke, for about 15 minutes, passionately and earnestly, with the repeated message that money is the key to unlocking the secret to the cure for paralysis, as well as to providing wheelchairs and suitably adapted facilities to those that need them.
The developed world is far from wheelchair friendly, but is far better than the Third World, where the terrain is totally unsuitable. Walkabout has all its ‘expenses ‘ covered by a benefactor, which means that every donated penny goes to the ‘end user’ ( paralysed person) in the form of wheelchair(s) and/ or facilities

The provision of a chair to someone who without it would have no option other than to lie, immobile, in a bed, or on a mat, is a total life changer. People can get jobs, go places, be independent,  all leading to drastic improvements in confidence and mood.  Parents can contribute, rather than only be on the receiving end only, of the generosity of others.

I know only too well the psychological effects of feeling useless, and I have had a chair from the start. I can’t imagine how much worse it would feel, not having one for years, or possibly never.

This Gala was 5 years in the planning,  but was probably well worth the wait

Tugging on the heart strings of the very rich is a good tactic to raise money , and it worked, people pledging donations of  single amounts up to £100 000 .

I don’t know the total raised, but £100k buys 500 wheelchairs , transforming FIVE HUNDRED lives

And that’s a lot of happiness, to the guy in the chair, his wife, his parents, his children, his friends.

So if you read this and want to help, hit the link above and make a difference to a lot of people



Not your usual Saturday night out.

Dani and I have been invited to a ‘Gala’ dinner tonight , in aid of the Walkabout Foundation.

Its in the Natural History Museam in London, with no less than former President of the  USA,  Bill Clinton, as the guest of honour.


Dew, there’s posh… As my Nan would have said.

A message that made me cry … Again.


Life will suck sometimes for sure… but it’ll get better and better also for sure… Look at yr brilliant progress so far…

As for half a Dad – u know that’s shite. More like twice the Dad – your kids will be the best adjusted and most understanding of all kids. U know that’s true right? That also holds for yr mates btw – you’re twice the man and u need to know that.

A distraction

I’ve embarked on a little sideline.
Fitness and diet advice, with weight loss ( and then the weight staying off ) the objective.

I’ve really noticed, in my sitting down existence, people’s eating habits, and the crap they talk about food.

Invariably those with the most advice to give, are overweight ( from here on referred to as FAT ).

It’s amazing how much fat people know about healthy eating….!

The mate I’ve ‘ coached ‘lost 8 pounds in 4 days.
Then he relaxed the regime and stopped dropping the weight.

The ‘rule’ Is that if he asks my advice, and I tell him, he has to ACTUALLY DO IT.
Or don’t bloody ask me.

I don’t know what his target is, but my advice isn’t painful, or tiring.

It’s just common sense based.

I’m not fat, in this bloody chair, even though I can’t burn calories like an able bodied person.

So if I’m not fat, despite this, what excuse does anyone else with fully moveable parts have?

June 26th 2015

Last night I fell out of my chair.
I tipped back, to get over a doorway threshold, thinking a friend was holding the handles, but they weren’t.
I hit the back of my head pretty hard, and my left elbow too.

It was in a crowded bar, all seated.
I’d already felt pretty self conscious, as it seemed like half of them had to get up and move, just for me to get through.

Then when I went flying, I found myself sprawled on the floor.
I can feel my head and arms, but lots of the rest of me I can’t, so when I opened my eyes I remember thinking ‘ what are my legs doing over there?’

I’ve not fallen out in public before, and it felt awful.
I felt helpless ( and I was ).

Of course my mates picked me up and put me back in the chair, but the damage was done and I didn’t really recover after that.

When I got back at about 11.15, I just completely broke down, and cried probably more than, and for longer, than I ever have.
I don’t want my daughters to have half a dad, and that thought wouldn’t go away, and won’t now, this morning.

I suppose the argument is that half a dad is better than no dad….. But the Voice in my head says that the memory of the Whole dad is preferable to having what they’ve got now.

Polo, anyone…?

The Eastwood Farm polo event was a great success.
I don’t pretend to understand polo , but do know that the horses don’t kick the ball, and that there’s not a horse goalie.

The hosts were tireless, the hospitality faultless, and the supporters very enthusiastic.

As well as talented riders on horses ( or is it talented horses with riders? ) there were kisses auctioned off from Gloria Frankum and the new Diet Coke male model.
Plenty of Cougars in evidence for the second one, then …

Andreas had his 2 foot long locks cut off by Adam for money, and lots of stuff was bid for in the Silent Auction.

There was even a speech made by a bloke in a wheelchair (me).
In that speech I expressed my graditude to everyone that made it the success it was, and I do again now, most of all to the hosts, ( Lord ) Larry and ( Lady ) Sarah Frankum.

Ok so they’re not actually titled yet, but you never know……

How it is.

I ‘belong’ to a Facebook Group for people with SCI – Spinal Cord Injuries.

I guess that really it’s a support group, as well as a source of information from those who’ve had this shockingly bad disability for longer than yourself.

Today people wrote in about  their perception of the prevailing attitudes of the ‘normal ‘ population to those in the group, that other people are ‘nosey about their injury’ , and even ‘want to take the piss’.


What’s obvious to me, is that there’s a lot of anger out there, from people with SCI’s.

My injury was my own fault , I have no one else to blame.
If I did, perhaps I’d be angry too.

I’ve not met anyone in the last 2 years who I’d say was ‘nosey’ or ‘wanted to take the piss’. I wonder if that’s really how it is, or just how some  imagine it to be.

SCI is awful, and not like the ‘other’ reasons people end up in chairs, though MS and MND, and many other conditions are all awful too.

We are all going to ‘cope’ in different ways, and that’s up to the individual.
For me, it’s not by being angry at other people. It’s bad enough as it is , without that conflict.

I wrote  :

“I’m surprised to read what people have written on this topic.

Before my injury I was a big, strong guy. I was always the first to offer to help a lady carry her heavy suitcase, or pram with baby, up stairs.

I was never glared at, or abused for offering to help make life easier for another person.

In my job, I’d regularly meet people in chairs, and make a point of asking why they had one.
I don’t recall ever having an offended response.

I don’t like being paraplegic , I don’t like my wheelchair , and welcome people knowing that it hasn’t always been this way for me, that I was almost killed in a crash 2 years ago, and that that same crash has left me paralysed, and that I really don’t like it.

It’s not ‘normal’ to be in a chair.. And it’s natural for people to wonder why.
If you see someone with their arm in a sling, don’t you ask how they hurt their arm? Isn’t that a perfectly normal question?
So why ignore the wheelchair question?
Don’t we ask each other how we were injured? Can’t other people that are walking , ask us?

Being in a chair is crap.
Being in a chair and angry is worse.
Raging against ‘normal’ people is not the way forward.
Rejecting polite help is not the way forward. If someone asks me if I need help, I’ll generally say yes, and thank them.

I’m far more surprised if people watch you struggle and don’t help. I want to say sometimes ‘ can’t you see it’s hard for me, why haven’t you asked if you can help’.
I know people want to help, but often they don’t because they fear an angry rebuke.
That’s crazy.. It would never occur to me to do anything other than smile, if someone offers help. If I choose that I don’t need the help, then I can say, and still say thank you.

Being angry and hostile is wrong, and gives chair users a bad image.

I tell my mates that they should offer to help me, and anyone else in a chair.
I really hope that they don’t ever encounter anybody in this conversation who might undo my advice to them, by being offensive to someone trying to help.”


I don’t know if my own approach is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.   Who am I to say ?

I do look in the mirror sometimes ( when it’s unavoidable ) and feel heartbroken that this happened to me, that I can say.

For the last 12 hours my bladder seems to have lost all control, so just leaks pee. There’s limited point in dressing, only to make a mess of my clothes, so I’m just in my chair, with a towel over me, to soak up any leaks.

It’s not glamorous, this stuff, and could very easily unhinge me.

I constantly have to seek the ‘bigger picture’ and justify my own worth to myself, but it’s not easy.


Last night I had a bloody asthma attack in my own home , in bed.

Thats a first, struggling for breath, trying to suppress the rising sense of panic, of course unable to get up and go outside for fresh air, or escape the sense of claustrophobia that I’m now aware you get, at the same time.

Dani finding my lost inhaler, not used for many months, was the solution, after a good hour of fighting for breath.

Today we go to a polo day, no less, hosted by our lovely friends, Larry and Sarah, for my charity.

Not being at all ‘horsey’ , it’s a bit unusual for me, I’m more of a sheep type of bloke….. But it’ll be a good day

They’ve asked me to make a speech.. My god, it’s quite tempting to tell a few very funny stories  featuring them, but I’ll resist .

I think that post coma, I’ve developed Tourette’s syndrome, sometimes…..?


A comment..

I’m certain that if you’d been told to be careful that it would have made no difference whatsoever–shit just happens–if you’d spent your life being very careful all the time I imagine that your life would have been less full of all the experiences you have had– I know so many people who don’t exercise because it’s raining–are feeling a little bit under the weather so give it a miss or shit themselves about doing a half marathon–to be honest I find them all a bit weak and dull–you’ve got to live and as you did and still do–trip to USA–go for it!!Can you imagine what most people’s reaction would be to being told they have TO GO TO THE STATES for 5 months by themselves in a wheelchair to try and make their lives better and HOPEFULLY–then get chosen for the implant–9,999/10,000 would just back down—it’s in your blood Russ!

You seem in a better place now Russ and I’ve started doing weights again after seeing your ARMS—more like legs–are they calf muscles you’ve had stitched on–if my boys ever meet you they will be hugely impressed!

I was touched to see, without too much notice given, a cool bunch of people turn up to celebrate the start of my 3rd year in a wheelchair…
Great to see Dan, Rick, Sam, Jeremy, Dickon, Pia, Toby, Glen, Roy, Peter, Cress, Peter, Tim, Vaughan and Jules , 8 of whom were with me as I lay on the road, possibly alive for not a lot longer, 2 years ago.