A man who was paralysed from the chest down in a motorbike accident is on the road again, with his first child – proof that nothing can stop him from living a full life.
Carl Brackley, now 39, who lives in Winslow, had the accident in November, 2009, and he had to spend seven months in hospital.
The wheels of his motorbike skidded on some mud and he was thrown off into a ditch at the side of the road. Carl immediately realised he could not feel his legs.
“It was a crushing time,” Carl said. “I had to learn how to do practically everything again.
“Things you take for granted like pulling your trousers up, or rolling over in bed.
“In a split second on that road, I’d been paralysed from the chest down. I had no movement – I couldn’t even feel my skin.”
The hospital team found a broken bone poking into Carl’s spinal cord which they removed, and this released some feeling, highlighting a broken knee, which had not been picked since the accident.
And one of the biggest concerns following his accident was whether Carl would be able to start a family with partner of nine years, Rachel.
“It was awful,” Carl said. “After the operation I started getting bad spasms as a result of the pain, and they’d get so intense I’d be thrown out of my wheelchair. I had to tie my feet and legs down and my legs would kick all night. It meant I couldn’t sleep in the same bed as Rachel.”
After being rejected for IVF in the UK, he went to a clinic in the Czech Republic, and on the second attempt, their baby was conceived and Sienna was born.
Now Carl is enjoying life as a new dad, and thanks to the spinal injury charity Aspire, he has an electric Batec bike which allows him to go to all the places he used to visit.
“It gives me far more independence,” Carl said. “I can nip to the shops and go virtually anywhere I choose. The best part is having the freedom to take my daughter out with me, and enjoy a relaxing time in the countryside.”
Carl was helped by money raised at the annual Aspire Channel Swim, which launches again on September 12.