Story 65

Inspirational support

I first got involved with Leonard Cheshire Disability following a life-changing road accident in the USA, in 2008. My wife Denise and I were exploring South Texas on a motorcycle when a drunk driver veered into our lane at 80mph, colliding with us head on.

Chris Arthey

We both sustained multiple injuries including the loss of our left legs above the knee.

We had superb support in Texas from our church, neighbourhood and colleagues, and really came to appreciate the importance of a support structure and of good therapy. After a long recovery and rehabilitation in the USA, we were both able to return to work and resume our lives.

We moved back to England and our home in Hydestile, Surrey, on my retirement at the end of 2015. We returned with a fresh comprehension of the sort of help that our neighbours at Leonard Cheshire’s Hydon Hill home provide for residents. Hydon Hill represents the type of support we had in the USA, so I wanted to give back to them.

With help from the local community, I organised an annual local cross-country running race, the ‘Hydon Hobble’.  We decided to work with Hydon Hill to turn it into a fundraiser for them. The ‘Hydon Hobble’ has raised money to support projects for the residents in 2016 and 2017. It has been delightful to see our Hydestile community pulling together to organise this event and encouraging the staff and residents to get involved.

A personal highlight from my years with Leonard Cheshire has been forming a friendship with one of Hydon Hill’s inspirational residents, Dan Eley. Dan helped with the presentation of the Hydon Hobble awards in both 2016 and 2017.

Earlier this year I completed the London Marathon, as far as we can tell becoming the first above-knee amputee to run it (certainly at 61 the oldest). Hydon Hill was the obvious charitable cause: thoughts of the work there and the generosity of my sponsors kept me going through the tough part of the marathon between miles 16 and 23!

If I met Leonard Cheshire today I’d want to thank him for everything he’s done to help broken bodies, but more than that to give hope to so many broken hearts. Disability can seem terribly bleak and isolating, but inspirational support can transform the outlook by giving hope and a future, and a sense of community.

Disability can seem terribly bleak and isolating, but inspirational support can transform the outlook by giving hope and a future, and a sense of community.