June 22, 2024

South West News

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“I had to hit rock bottom to rise again” – man who woke up paralysed reveals latest incredible challenge

A man who woke up paralysed is aiming to scale Mount Kilmanajoro in his latest charity crusade.

Jamie McAnsh has already climbed Mount Everest on crutches, and now he’s aiming to tackle the African peak in bid to raise tens of thousands of pounds.

Jamie, from Cwmbran, Torfaen, Wales, who has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) which causes persistent severe and debilitating pain, appeared on GBNews to talk about his latest challenge.

Explaining how life changed forever ten years ago he told GBNews, who have crowned him a “Greatest Briton”, that he had to hit rock bottom to climb back up.

He said “So I had shingles in November 2013. I think it’s really good to kind of make out that this is a very rare situation. It won’t happen to everybody. So I had shingles, which attacked my spinal column. And then I went to bed on 6 January 2014. I had a massive spasm, which ruptured my spine and then I woke up on the seventh of January, completely paralysed.

“There was always an opportunity for me to be able to walk again. But no one really knew what that would look like. It also took 13 months for complete diagnosis, which meant that there was no turning back after that.”

Outlining how it impacted him, Jamie continued: “Everything changed. I went down that whole journey of mental health and wellbeing. I was the guy that wore a mask who told everybody that I was okay. When actually deep down, I was falling apart. And then that stress led to a suicide attempt. And that was when my life really changed at that point. It was when I hit rock bottom. Once you’re at the bottom, you can’t go any further right? You can only go forward. That’s when I found support. That’s when I found basketball. That’s when I got into a network of people. And that’s when things started building confidence and I just started getting better and better and better. Then I went to my physiotherapy and I started hydrotherapy, electroshock therapy, and mental therapy. And then you know from there, I just progressed and got better and better.”

Explaining what drove his love of climbing Jamie, who is Head of Inclusions at business growth consultancy Champions (UK) plc added: “I wanted to climb Everest since I was seven years old. It’s a pretty epic experience. I did that on crutches. Now I am focusing on Kilimanjaro. I’ve been sponsored and supported by an organisation called Thuasne and they make composite carbon fibre legs called Spry Kafos which is like an external leg with a blade, like an Olympic blade which goes down into the sole of my foot.

“What that will do is it will store the energy as I step forward and release the energy when I step away. It will completely support my limbs with the addition of a back brace, which will then support my spine. So the idea of the challenge is to walk Kilimanjaro without the use of crutches. So I want to be able to do it without using crutches and completely unaided. The legs are being made as we speak. I’m always up for doing something and I’m always up for challenges because it keeps me going.”

To find out more including how to support Jamie visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/conquering-kilimanjaro-a-journey-of-triumph

Ten years ago the former salesman’s life was suddenly turned upside down when he went to bed and woke up paralysed from the waist down, following a bout of shingles. He was eventually diagnosed with CRPS, an uncommon condition which causes persistent severe and debilitating pain that can be triggered by an injury or virus. The former climber, avid runner and motorbike enthusiast embarked on a long and gruelling recovery which has seen him gain some mobility. He uses a wheelchair and relies on specialist crutches to help him walk.

Determined not to let his severe disability affect his ambitions Jamie battled against adversity and found relief in sport, having completed 12 extreme challenges in 12 months raising £250,000 for charity. He has played wheelchair basketball for Cardiff and international rugby for Wales, and became the first disabled squash player to compete in the Welsh Open Masters tournament against able-bodied players. The CRPS campaigner, whose motto is ‘always get back up’, travels around the world giving inspirational talks about his struggles, challenges and success.