Ten years ago 28-year-old Andi Ramsay was struck down in a freak accident, which left him suicidal and in crutches...now he’s training for a marathon.
On 27th November, 2000, I was struck down on a pedestrian crossing as I walked home from a late shift at work as a trainee cabinet maker. It was a dark, rainy night and the last thing I remember was pressing the button. I was 19 years-old, and had a three month old son, having been with my girlfriend, Hannah, for just a year.
“I was in a coma for nine days, and when I woke up in hospital I thought I as on the QE2, and that my son was a younger brother! But the reality soon kicked in. I’d been left with multiple breaks and a head the size of a watermelon.
“I spent three and a half months in hospital and under-went serious brain surgery. I had to learn everything from scratch, including how to hold a knife and fork.
“Even though it was a known risk of the surgery I’d had, I hadn’t realised I had epilepsy. And when I suffered my first seizure it felt like I was being electrocuted. They were violent 45 minute bursts of agony and suffering that left me with a total lack of energy. The seizures continued once a month for the first six months.
“I’d been told by the doctors that I’d never be able work again, and running was a definite ‘no no’. And I spent six years in crutches, and got married in them in December 2005. By the time I was 25, I was approaching 14 stone, and very unfit, but I was determined not to stay stuck.
“I kept at it, and after intensive physiotherapy, acupuncture, and pure bloody-mindedness I got out of the crutches. It was an amazing feeling.
“But a combination of the brain injury and my situation led to depression. I was a young man, with no work and struggling.
“Now, I had two children, but I felt I was a burden to Hannah. A thought came into my head, ‘The only way to help Hannah is to do away with myself.’
“I got up at 530am took 100 paracetomal, left the house and walked. I started to feel really poorly and hid in a bush.
“All of a sudden a fresh thought came into my head, ‘Get out of this bush!’
“Luckily, the police had been called and when I came out a car picked me up. I was then helped by Headway UK. And life started to change.
“In August 2007, five months after my suicide attempt, I joined the gym, and gradually got stronger. I used the cross trainer to get me aerobically fit. And then I heard about the Eastleigh 10k, and entered the race in 2008.
“I went along only have trained on the cross trainer (plus walking six miles a day). My leg was badly damaged in the accident, and is scarred with hardly any muscle, and pins in the fibula/tibia.
“As I joined the start of the race at the back, a big bloke look at my scarred leg, and muttered: ‘At least I won’t be last’. It spurred me on – and I finished in 47:22.
“I get shooting pains in my leg when I run, but the feeling of achievement makes it worth it. I’m at the end of my first year in college studying to become a personal trainer. Running has been therapy and gives me something to focus on. I’ve since gone on to run 43:07 for a 10k and 1:23:59 for 10 miles (The Great South Run 2008).
“After what I’ve been through I know I can be an inspiration and want to help people to do the unthinkable, and not listen to those who say they ‘can’t do’ whatever it is they’re aiming for.
“My next challenge is the Berlin Marathon in September 2010. There were a lot of charities I could have run for, as I have been unfortunate enough to have many conditions, such as Asthma UK (I have asthma), Headway UK (as I suffered brain damage), the British Heart Foundation (as I have a heart condition), The National Blood Service (as I had to have two blood transfusions whilst in hospital) even the Salvation Army (who help people at their lowest).
“But, I have chosen the National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) as they helped me to feel normal and really understand what was happening to me.”
Find out more and sponsor Andi at: http://virginmoneygiving.com/andiramsay