Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Campaign to support paralysed accident victim

THE partner of a Knowle man left paralysed after a cycling accident says she has been overwhelmed by support from the community.

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Accountant Andrew Naylor, 48, has lost the use of his legs and left arm after the May 26 accident near Hatton Country World.

Partner Sarah Nolan, 46, spoke as friends prepare to launch a £10,000 fundraising campaign to pay for home adaptations and care with the first event on Friday.

She said: “The network of people we have got in the community, it is the people pulling together like that which has got me through these last five-and-a-half months.”

Miss Nolan said their links to Knowle and Dorridge Running Club, Knowle and Dorridge Racquets Club and Copt Heath Golf Club had seen friends rally around.

“From the moment this happened I had things like a rota drawn up of making meals for us. The running club sorted a rota for people to sort my garden.

“It is such a fantastic example of living in a community. It was invaluable and it was the only reason myself and my family have been able to survive.”

The dad-of-two is at The Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries in Oswestry, Shropshire and is to go to a private intermediatary care facility in Hall Green for six weeks before coming home.

The Widney Road resident said of the accident: “It was a standard Saturday morning, teenagers in bed, I go for my run and he goes for a cycle.

“We were getting a bit concerned, he had been out for some time.

“I was bouncing in and out and I said ‘not to worry, he will be back, he has taken a long route or had a puncture or broken a chain’.”

The personal injury solicitor said she went to Tesco and the police then arrived at the house but could not tell the children what had happened.

“I got back, I saw the police on the drive, I feared the worst. It was awful.”

Mr Naylor was put in an induced coma for seven days at Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry and then put on full life support after suffering chest and spinal injuries.

Miss Nolan said: “Because we know a lot of people who do a lot of activities they have thought ‘that could have been me’. When you are running or cycling, you are so vulnerable.

“From the moment the police knocked on the door it is one of those classic stories, you think ‘it doesn’t happen to me’.”

Along with home care, the house will need adaptations including a lift, ramps and a bathroom adaptation. A specialist wheelchair alone will cost £13,000.

She said her partner has been turned down for NHS funding for continuing care and the family will apply to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for home help.

She said: “What has got me more cross is that there is such a failure to work in a joined up system.

“If you got all the stakeholders around the table you would realise if you did something like this they potentially could save costs in the future.”

Miss Nolan, who praised the hospitals, said: “Nothing is patient driven.

“All this rubbish you hear that the patient’s needs are paramount, the patient is not at the centre of their decision making process.”

She herself was at the Shropshire hospital after breaking her neck in a 1986 car accident aged 18 from which she made a full recovery.

Miss Nolan said: “I cried when I thought ‘how can this happen twice?’”

But she said her partner has been “very positive” and the August and September Paralympics had been a “huge positive influence” on the family.

The couple have been together for six years and live with four teenage children, two each from previous relationships.

She said: “We saw the people on the TV, they looked fit and happy and healthy and they looked as though life was good. You think it can be done.

“I said to quite a lot of people ‘if Andrew and I can’t do it I don’t know who can because we have the support of all the people around us’.”

A coffee morning will kick off fundraising at Knowle and Dorridge Cricket club from 11am to 1pm on Friday. People are encouraged to bring cake.

Organiser Sarah Connors said: “We just want to do what we can to help them.

“They just need as much support as they can get from friends and family to make it as smooth a transition as possible to try and get his quality of life as good as it can be.”

For information about the campaign email sarah.connors@talk21.com.