Alex Croft has recently undertaken a personal cycling challenge to raise funds for Smile4Wessex. In his own words, he explains just why it was so important to him to do so.
As newlyweds and only recently returned from our honeymoon we thought we had it all planned……… get the house in order, and one more knees-up at Glastonbury before we start trying for a family of our own.
On Sunday April 13th 2014 all our plans were turned upside-down. It started around midday and initially, thinking it was just a bad migraine, I gave Katy a couple of pain killers and closed the curtains hoping this would help. It was only seeing her writhing in pain and the other symptoms that she was experiencing - not what you would normally associate with a migraine - that I decided to call for an ambulance. Having spent six agonising hours in A&E, and seeing her slowly deteriorate we were informed that Katy, my beautiful wife of less than five months, had suffered a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage - better known as a ‘bleed to the brain’.
Within two hours we were rushed to the Wessex Neurological Centre where Katy underwent surgery to insert a drain to release the pressure on her brain. Whilst this was successful, we were informed that Katy would need a second procedure, the following day, to insert coiling into the haemorrhage to stop the bleeding.
I can honestly say that the six and a half hours Katy was in theatre was, for me and all of Katy’s family, the most stressful time of our lives. The helplessness you feel is almost unbearable but we were eventually, and thankfully, given the fantastic news that she had survived this lifesaving operation. The fact dawned that we were one of the lucky ones, and that put’s everything else into perspective.
During the three weeks Katy spent at the Wessex Neurological Centre, both within the High Dependency Unit and ‘C Neuro’ ward, the dedication of the whole team - from the surgeons to the nursing staff who looked after Katy on a daily basis - was clearly apparent. Their caring, understanding, knowledge and ability to communicate in these very difficult times was truly amazing, and they are still supporting us with Katy’s continuing recovery. Words alone cannot begin to say how much gratitude Katy, her mum, dad, sister and myself have for the whole team.
As well as experiencing this first hand, I’ve also had two very close friends who’ve been unlucky enough to suffer serious brain injuries. They both underwent surgery, and were also fortunate enough to have received the same care & attention as Katy during their difficult times. Luckily both pulled through, with one currently recovering from a brain tumour & the other fully recovered after fracturing her skull.
Having taken things for granted for so long ‘as you do’ - and experiencing first and second hand the truly fantastic work these people do on a daily basis, saving so many people’s lives, I felt compelled to help raise awareness & funds for the fantastic work the whole team of people do (for patients) with all matter of brain injuries.
Riding the 100km route from Fleet to Brighton was quite a challenge for me, particularly given the heavy mountain bike – not ideal! – and the VERY limited training I did in preparation. But just knowing that I was putting something back, and helping Smile4Wessex fund projects that will benefit so many others in the future, was all the motivation I needed to drag my tired body up each hill along the way.
I’m pleased to say that Katy is continuing to make a fantastic recovery and we are truly thankful for all the support we’ve received from everyone. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ to the whole team who cared for Katy and everyone who will continue to support us/me in raising funds for this truly fantastic cause.