A defiant fitness enthusiast who was told he might never walk again after a road accident is planning a charity cycle.
Liam Reid, aged 32, was just days away from marrying his now wife Jimena Vergara-Lincoqueo, age 30, in July 2016 when he was knocked off his bike by a van driver on his way home from work. He was taken to the Northern General Hospital where he had to have part of his leg muscle removed and his leg and knee encased in metal.
He said: “At the time of the accident I thought I had cut my knee and that was about all, but when the doctor told me how serious it was I was pretty distraught.
“I was an enthusiastic cyclist. I was awful at it, but I was enthusiastic.
“I’m above average on the competitiveness spectrum so I was always training for something, whether it be one of the many half marathons, rugby, walking challenges, swimming or cycling. I have always liked to keep active.”
Liam, of Rotherham, was warned by doctors that he might never walk again, but the fitness-fanatic was determined to defy the odds.
“We were due to get married that Saturday and I was told by the doctor that we would have to cancel. There was a risk that I would lose the use of my leg but I was determined to defy them.”
Six days after his accident he was wheeled down the aisle in a wheelchair to marry, and he has now planned a charity challenge to thank the doctors who helped him.
Liam said: “I was told to brace myself for the worst, but the men and women of Sheffield hospitals have worked tirelessly to get me back on my feet.
“I have had operations, treatments, consultations, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and supported gym work.
“They have moved heaven and earth to get me back on my feet, so what better way to give them something back than to demonstrate that they have helped me to do the impossible.
“With that in mind, I’ve organised a coast to coast cycle ride on behalf of Sheffield Hospitals Charity.”
When Liam first organised the cycle, he had not yet got back in the saddle and had been told that he may never be able to, but again he was determined to defy the odds.
He said: “The idea came from pure pig-headed stubbornness. I’ll be damned if a surgeon is going to tell me I can’t cycle again without being absolutely sure that I haven’t tried it for myself.
“At the time of arranging the event I couldn’t actually cycle but decided to take a bit of a leap of faith that I would be able to do it.
“I’ve done my first cycle now. My first cycle after the accident was on December 2 last year, which was 502 days since the accident. I really wanted to get out on the 500th day but work got in the way.
“This is my journey from a third-rate cyclist into a wheelchair and then back into the saddle.”
Liam will be beginning his 150-mile bike ride on August 24 at Blackpool Tower. He is hoping to reach Scarborough Castle three days later, on August 26.
He added: “I decided on this route because I wanted at least some of it to be through Yorkshire because I’m a proud Yorkshireman.”
He will be supported on the challenge, which he has called the Two Roses Coast to Coast ride, by nine members of family and friends, including his wife.
He is hoping to raise £2,000 for Sheffield Hospitals charity with the challenge. He has already raised £225 even though the event is more than six months away.
Liam has now been discharged from the hospital, but he still has to go back for check-ups.
He said: “I have some nerve damage on the front of my leg which means I can’t feel anything from my knee to my ankle on my shin.
“I recently started seeing a podiatrist to help with how I walk and I needed some guidance from my orthopaedic surgeon.
“I also do physio to help with flexibility and strength and I’ll have to do this for the rest of my life.”
Sheffield Hospitals Charity is the official NHS charity that helps patients being treated for almost every condition across all the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals sites.
The charity’s aim is to enhance the care and treatment of patients using the hospitals by raising funds and making grants to support areas beyond the scope of NHS funding.
With support and hard work from donors and fundraisers, the charity invests more than £2 million each year.
Liam added: “This is a charity that is very close to my heart. Any donation will make a difference.”
You can follow Liam’s journey online at www.changingwheels.co.uk. You can also follow him on Twitter at @changing_wheels.
If you wish to donate to Liam, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/impossible-coast-to-coast
You can also visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk