Hear Samuel’s story from his mother Alwena. Samuel suffered a Spinal...
My name is Jack... In July 2016 when I was 24, I was involved in a mountain bike accident whilst practicing for the Mega Avalanche in the French Alps. When I came round from surgery I was told I had broken my back and badly damaged my spinal cord resulting in complete paraplegia from the chest down.
Cycling had always been my absolute passion for as long as I can remember. Since finishing school I worked in a bike shop, and would spend all my spare time in the woods on a bike.
Overcoming the immediate shock of a spinal cord injury and what it entails was tough, but for me, the most difficult part was accepting the fact that everything I loved and had been building my life around was no more.
I spent countless hours whilst in hospital researching what could fill the void, hand cycling was an obvious choice. I got in touch with a keen hand cyclist local to me and armed with his advice, I got in touch with Schmicking-UK. After we initially spoke I was excited that they could offer me exactly what I wanted, but sadly the total cost put it completely out of my reach.
A few weeks later, I was speaking to a friend who mentioned the Matt Hampson Foundation was helping him out. I spent that evening reading all about Matt and the foundation. Shortly after, I got in touch asking for partial funding towards the bike to soften the blow. It turned out that I had got in touch at one of the foundation’s busiest times, as work was just commencing on the centre, and the Six Nation dinner was looming. Nonetheless, very soon after, I was in Melton Mowbray with Matt and the team during which they decided to fund the bike in full for me!
What makes the MHF stand out for me is the sense of community within disability that is being created. Making contacts, and sharing knowledge and experience between others in similar situations is such an important aspect of coming to terms with any disability.
The bike is better than I could ever have imagined (despite rolling it on my initial fitting!) Although my arm strength has a LONG way to come yet, knowing that I can now get off the beaten track and have the freedom to explore after so long is massive to me. The difference that such charitable support makes is huge, which is the reason that next year I plan to ride 100 miles, self supported, in the hope to raise funds to support the next worthy cause that the foundation decide to support.