“I was just short of 18. I was being silly racing my motorcycle with my friends; boys being boys and all that. I hit a car head on and so there ended my motorcycle career.” Jeremy was instantly paralysed from the waist down.

He was taken to a general hospital for two weeks and then transferred to Cardiff Spinal Injury Centre for a long stay. He says that after the initial shock of injury he was ready to “get up and get out”.

“I didn’t like being away from my parents, I was still a home boy. I lived in Truro in Cornwall and I was put into the Spinal Injuries Unit in Cardiff. It was a new thing for me, being away from my family. I just wanted to get out and be back home. I’d been up and in my chair for about 2 days and I said ‘That’s it, I want to go home now’.”

After a long-term stay in Cardiff Spinal Injury Centre Jeremy returned home, eventually finding an accessible property for himself and married his wife.

Jeremy on his handcycle

It was years later during an assessment and medical check-up at Salisbury Spinal Injury Unit when he saw images of people with handcycles and racing wheelchairs linking the corridors of the unit. “My wife pointed at the handcycle and said ‘that’s what you need’, and at the bottom of the picture is said something about how the picture or equipment was funded by Aspire.”

Jeremy applied for an Aspire Grant and with the funding he was able to purchase a handcycle. He says: “My hand-bike has more than lived up to my expectations, I thoroughly enjoy being out. It’s provided so many benefits: I’ve lost weight, I feel healthier, my breathing is a lot better, and that’s only in a year of using my handcycle!”

"I’ve lost weight, I feel healthier, my breathing is a lot better, and that’s only in a year of using my handcycle!”

As well as physical benefits, Jeremy praises the effects it has had on his mental wellbeing. “I’ve gone through depression over the last couple of years and had a major OCD problem. It takes your mind off things. Sometimes I really don’t want to go out because it can be a bit of a hassle, but once I’m out I am always glad to be out.“

Jeremy’s wife also bought a bike and now the pair spend weekends away cycling together. He says that the handcycle hasn’t just “opened up a new world” for him but for his wife as well. “We go everywhere; up hills, through the woods and all-sorts now. The only downside is fitting them both in the car!

“I’m so glad for it all. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Just one of the little pictures I’d seen has now opened up a whole new world.”

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