Name: Charlotte Roach
Charity: Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA)
Story: In November 2009 I was run over by an oncoming Landrover whilst out training in Loughborough, where I was based and training full time for the 2012 Olympics in triathlon. I was critically injured with two punctured lungs, multiple broken ribs, 12 fractured vertebrae and a broken collarbone. I survived only because of the expertise of a Leicester Tiger’s rugby physio who happened to come across the scene, and the speed and expertise of the air ambulance service (DLRAA), who unlike other services carry a doctor onboard.
Without the skills of the doctor I would not have been able to have chest drains inserted onsite - enabling some function from my punctured lungs, giving me more time to make it to hospital.
I underwent emergency surgery on my chest and spine, I was in hospital for 11 days and tried to resume life as it was before the accident as soon as possible. This was a tough journey leaving hospital with no expectations of what function I would be able to regain, having to relearn everything from scratch. I think I surprised myself and many others (medics and sportspeople) with what I was able to achieve. But I would not have made it without the huge amount of support I received around me, with special thanks to both Kelly Holmes and Barry Wells who stuck by me through this time when many did not.
Six months after the accident I had got myself entered into an elite European cup triathlon race, where I managed to finish fourth. Simply finishing was a great achievement for me but fourth was something I could have never expected. I completed this race despite metalwork in my spine limiting my movement and making training difficult and a broken collarbone - somewhat inconvenient!
I have since undergone two more rounds of surgery to fix my collarbone and to have the metalwork removed from my spine. I have just finished my degree at Cambridge University and I am planning to take six months to cycle back from China to raise money for the great work done by the air ambulance. I also hope to encourage those who have undergone major surgery to get back up and live life as they did before.
I am riding alone hopefully with some company for stretches of the journey. Due to the recent instability in the Middle East I am planning to 'make up the miles' by heading south to Australia, before flying back to Europe and home. The journey is around 10000 miles as the crow flies, so I shall let you know the actual distance! (ie how bad my navigation is!) I am planning to predominantly sleep in tents to keep the costs to a minimal. I will also be keeping a blog and a GPS so that my progress can be followed.
The DLRAA saved over one thousand lives like mine in 2010, they are not NHS funded and need the generous support of donors to keep their service active. You never know who may need their help.
Due to the unexpected and extreme kindness of those donating, I have now reached my first target of £1400 enabling one other person to be rescued by the airambulance in the same way that I was. I have now raised my target to £7200 which is the cost of supporting a doctor (on two days a week) for the year to fly out with the missions and add their expertise.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am documenting my journey on: