Sheffield stroke survivor raises £15,000 to buy miracle bike for hospital that saved his life
A stroke survivor has thanked the Sheffield hospital which helped him make his amazing recovery by raising £15,000 to buy an over the bed bike.
In August 2020 David Grundy suffered a stroke which left him paralysed and only able to communicate via eye movements. He was not expected to survive.
From the harrowing experience of being 'locked in' his head, the retired professor and keen cyclist made an amazing recovery thanks to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Key to his physical and mental recovery recovery was an over the bed MOTOmed bike.
Now he has raised more than £15,000 to buy one of the machines for the Neuro Critical Care Unit so other patients can benefit in their treatment.
In August 2020, three weeks after retirement, David suffered what is known as a ‘Basilar Stroke’ caused by an injury to an artery in his brain stem.
The 67-year-old dad of three said: “I was feeling unwell in the days leading up to the stroke and my wife suggested we went to the hospital.
"I was being seen at A&E at the Northern General when things started to deteriorate very quickly.
"I was rushed to the Hallamshire to the stroke unit there.
"That night I had a massive seizure. They operated in the morning and put me into an induced coma for a while.”
“It is a rare form of stroke and would certainly have been fatal had I not already been admitted to hospital following the onset of early symptoms just a few hours before.”
Major seizures followed the stroke and he was left completely paralysed, but with his mental cognition unaffected- a state known as ‘Locked-In Syndrome’.”
“After three weeks I was able to communicate via eye movement alone, using an alphabet board and blinking on each letter to painstakingly spell out words,” said David.
"It was nothing short of horrendous, but my family and friends were by my side as much as Covid would allow.
"I wanted to die to be honest. I was thinking this would be my life going forward and I wasn’t interested in living that kind of life.”
When he was stable enough for an MRI scan, the results showed less brain damage than the doctors expected and his clinical symptoms suggested.
"I had consultations on what kind of life I could expect and they were all fairly positive. I resolved to fight hard and work to get my movement back,” said David
“Slowly twitches of the fingers turned to full hand movement, I could start to move my feet, and as my dependence on the tracheostomy was gradually reduced, I was slowly able to regain my swallow and speech.”
One of the neurologists there had access to a MOTOmed over the bed bike as a research tool and knowing he was a keen cyclist offered to let him use it.
"I really took to it and from then my recovery took off,” he said.
He was able to drive the pedals from a reclined position in bed, which measured his power through both legs, working his legs, core strength and coordination.
“I used it most days and it helped my recovery and mobility.
"Most importantly it vastly improved my mental health,” said David.
After a month he was able to sit up and take his first few steps.
"The good thing about the bike is it allows you to apply exercise to each leg independently. As my paralysis was on the left side I was able to particularly exercise that side so that eventually caught up with the right.
“The stroke was not caused by the usual indicators of being overweight with high blood pressure. I was fairly fit before I had the stroke. I think being fit and strong and being able to exercise helped my recovery enormously.
"It was not initially thought I would recover as well as I did so the staff were really amazed at my recovery.
“They used to talk about me as being their miracle for the year.”
After three months in intensive care he was discharged to a stroke rehab unit, with the next goal being to make it home.
"In my final week in ICU I undertook a 100 mile challenge on the Motomed in the hope to raise sponsorship to fund a Motomed specifically for the ICU ward so that other patients could benefit in the same way that I did,” said David.
“The 100 mile challenge was the first of many that I intend to complete with my ultimate goal to be back in the Peak District one day, on whatever form of bike my body allows.”
He set up with challenge the aim of raising £10,000 which is the cost of an overhead bike, but so far he has raised over £14,000.
He is planning to use some of the extra money raised to support speech and language to buy iPads with specialist software, to help train patients to be able to talk again.
David left hospital just before Christmas and is continuing his recovery at home.
He said: “My walking’s not too bad – my next big project is to get back on a bike and be able to ride short distances.
“Last summer I was due to be cycling from London to Paris to arrive for the final of the Tour de France for the finish at the Champs Elysees which was cancelled.
“The company has transferred my deposit to this year and so my target is to cycle to Paris in July.
"It’s a bit ambitious but it’s something aim for.”