Update: – I’ve made it to 100 miles with 3 months to spare so I’ve decided to increase the challenge to 150 miles.
My name is Nicky Defries. On Wednesday 12 July of last year at about 11.45 I was cycling home from my yoga class, when a lorry hit me from behind and then ran over my right leg and left ankle with its two double back wheels. This occurred in West London round the corner from Hammersmith Hospital. I remained conscious and in agony, until someone said to me after what seemed a very long time, ‘Nicky I am a doctor and I am going to take all the pain away.’
What I know now, but did not then was that my left leg was severely injured. I had lost all the fats, and most of the skin from my leg, as well as breaking my knee in two places.
I never saw the doctor, and would not be able to even recognise his voice again, but my husband, Tony, who arrived on the scene has told me he was amazing. The police would not let Tony near me, but told the doctor he had arrived, apparently the doctor took the time to kindly and compassionately speak to him and continually update him during the period of time that he and his team worked on me on the kerb side. This apparently took about an hour to an hour and a half.
This doctor and his team I now know were from London’s Air Ambulance. What I also did not know then is London Air Ambulance is a charity.
My recovery since that day has been and still is long and gruelling, both physically and psychologically. I was in hospital for four and half weeks, and had six operations, and when discharged I had frequent hospital appointments for dressing changes, twice, sometimes three times a week, which could take up to two hours.
As 2017 drew to a close, and I was reflecting on what had happened I began to realise that I needed to do something that had the dual ability to help me and also give something back.
My recovery started with the London's Air Ambulance Team and the Paramedics who assisted them. London's Air Ambulance are a charity, so I decided to fundraise for them.
Initially I was unsure how I could raise money, but after racking my brains I came up with an idea. I am still on crutches, I can not run, and hiking although something I can do is not a possibility yet, but I am and always have been a swimmer, and the day my doctors told me I could swim again was a celebratory day for me, and even though at that time I still had to cover my leg with protective covers it felt wonderful. That was in mid October, and since then every week I have built up my stamina, finally on 19 December I was able to reach the level before my accident which was to swim between 84 - 100 lengths of a 25 metre pool without stopping.
So my idea to fundraise for London’s Air Ambulance is to swim 100 miles, which is 6400 lengths of the pool by 12 July 2018, which will be the first anniversary of my accident. I have already started, and have swam over 400 lengths.
I will frequently update this page to show how many more lengths I have swam.
So please donate, but please do not feel you have to give vast amounts, I really do believe that 'every penny DOES count.' Just give what you can.
The total target I just picked randomly. I do not know how much I will raise I have never done something like this before, all I know is I want to give money to this important service, that was there when I needed it.
I would like to say thank you to everyone at "Everyone Active Acton", which is the swimming pool where I am carrying out this challenge, 'Fierce Grace West Yoga Studio' and my Physiotherapist Leslie Abrahams at 'Bodies Under Construction'.
Thank you to all the staff at The Lindo Wing, St Mary's Hospital, and a special thank you to my Plastic Surgeons Jon Simmonds and Matt Ives, and Ian Sinha my Orthopaedic Surgeon.
I would also like to thank all my friends, neighbours and family, who from 12 July 2017 onwards have shown me and my husband, Tony, what true friendship really means.
Finally to you Tony, you are always there, without you I would have given up along time ago.