Loughborough motorcyclist who learnt to walk again is stepping out to raise funds for lifesaving air ambulance
A Loughborough motorcyclist – who had to learn to use her legs again after nearly dying in a collision with a lorry – has set herself the challenge of walking a mile to raise funds for the local air ambulance charity she credits with saving her life.
Helen Nuttall (43) says: “A mile is not a great distance, but for me, it’s a heck of a challenge. My walking is still slow and painful, but I can get around.”
On August 18th she will be joined by three work colleagues from the Nottingham office where she works for the walk to the city railway station and back again.
“I survived the accident and if I don’t push myself, no one else can. I want to raise money for a very important cause and I am lucky to have good friends who are happy to walk with me, “says Helen.
She was riding her Harley Davidson motorcycle in Hinckley is October 2018 when the accident happened and Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) attended.
Helen’s bike went under the wheels of the lorry and she was tossed to the side of the road. She was knocked unconscious immediately and suffered multiple injuries to her head, neck, spine, pelvis, ribs, right leg and right arm. Both her lungs were punctured and she suffered a contusion (bruising) of the heart. She was bleeding profusely.
The air ambulance doctor and critical care paramedics put Helen into an induced coma and her breathing was managed by a ventilator. One of her lungs had partially collapsed so a thoracostomy procedure was performed to remove air that had leaked into her chest cavity.
Because of her head injury, the crew were concerned about the potential of further damage to her brain so managing her respiratory system and anaesthetising her was crucial to her long-term outcome.
Within eight minutes of getting a call out, WNAA arrived at the scene of the accident. The helicopter landed in a field near the industrial estate where Helen had been turning out of the entrance to a motorbike shop when the collision happened.
Due to the seriousness of her condition it was decided to transport her by road to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire – the nearest major trauma centre – so the air ambulance doctor accompanied her in a land ambulance.
On arrival, the doctor did a hand over to a full trauma team in the A&E department.
Helen’s life was hanging in the balance. She was put on a life support machine and spent five weeks in a coma.
During this time she underwent two major operations which saved her right leg and right arm.
Once she regained consciousness, Helen was in hospital for four months. She endured intense physiotherapy sessions which started in bed and when she could bear weight on her leg she had to learn to walk again.
When she left hospital in a wheelchair Helen was told that it would take her two years to be able to work and drive. But her determination won through and she was walking unassisted and went back to her job in just nine months after the accident.
“I had to get on with my life again. I owed it to all the people who cared for and treated me,” she says.
The sponsored walk is, she adds, a small gesture “to pay back my debt to the air ambulance, which I never will fully – but can try to.”
She has set up a JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Helen-Nuttall5 with a target of raising £750 for the local air ambulance service.