INSPiRATIONAL Jonathan Jolly will beat the odds to cycle 200 miles next week – two years to the day after a cycling accident left him paralysed from the neck down.
Doctors never told him if he would walk again for fear of giving false hope but now the 48-year-old is back on a bike to ride the width of England.
The once superfit dad-of-two, of Garlick Street, Rastrick, was in training for a Three Peaks Cyclocross Challenge when he fell off his bike on September 16 2009.
He broke his neck in three places, damaging his spinal cord, and spent the next six months at Pinderfields Hopspital in Wakefield.
Mr Jolly said: “I was awake through my accident. I remember my neck going. I heard it break and saw stars. I couldn’t feel anything. The only pain was from the shock.
“From being fit and active one minute, the next second your life changes forever.
“You can’t move, you can’t scratch your nose. You can’t do anything. You’re not in charge of your own body. You’re in charge of your mind – that’s very active and alert. It’s just a dreadful feeling.
“The hardest part was seeing my family. They would visit and everyone was crying. I was laid there joking – I had to. It was my only defence.”
Mr Jolly said deep down he knew he would walk again and did hours upon hours of gruelling physiotherapy.
“Doctors got me functioning with drugs but it was up to me to do the work. ‘Use it or lose it’ was what the physios told me. I wasn’t prepared to sit back and lose it.”
The ex-truck driver is now registered disabled and classed as tetraplegic, with limited movement in his legs, arms and upper body and paralysis of his wrists and fingers.
Extensive nerve damage also means he has no sensation in his fingers, cannot feel temperature in his lower body and is on a daily cocktail of drugs – many to control his pain.
His three-wheeled bike was donated by Regain, the sports- injury charity he is now raising money for.
He sets off on Tuesday from St Bees, Cumbria, and will arrive at Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire on September 16, the anniversary of his accident.
“I had the accident at 7.45pm and will cycle down to the bay – with my family waiting for me – two years to the hour to when I had the accident.
“I didn’t think I would be able to do what I’m doing now. I really didn’t think I would get to this. I thought it would be nice to get myself moving but to go from total paralysis to be able to ride 200 miles in four days is beyond belief.”
To sponsor Mr Jolly visit http://www.justgiving.com/jonathan-jolly.