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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Paralysed Cumbrian cyclist now breathing on his own

A paralysed cyclist has shown remarkable fighting spirit by starting to breathe on his own again.

Michael Bonney photo
Michael Bonney

Michael Bonney, of Eamont Bridge, near Penrith, broke his neck in a horrific mountain bike crash last March.

He was paralysed from the neck down after he suffered a severed spinal cord and now relies on a ventilator to breathe – but his brain was undamaged.

One year on, and despite medical opinion, Mr Bonney, 55, has now begun to show signs of movement in his diaphragm.

His wife Linzi, who he married at his bedside in hospital a few weeks after the accident, described it as a “huge breakthrough”.

She said: “Three months after the crash we were told by doctors that they would not test him again as he had shown no signs of movement whatsoever.

“Then on the anniversary of Michael’s accident we went back to hospital for his annual check-up.

“We had already detected some signs of movement so the consultant arranged for an ultra-sound of his diaphragm which indicated movement on the right and some sluggish movement on the left side.”

Experts at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough are now trying to wean Mr Bonney off the ventilator.

“It’s huge,” Linzi said.

“He started off doing five minutes three times a day off the ventilator and he’s now doing 15 minutes three times a day.

“So far it’s going very well. We’re trying not to get too excited but it is progress and it gives us confidence that if there’s a failure or delay with his equipment then he will be able to breathe by himself for a couple of minutes.”

The long-term aim is for Mr Bonney to come off the ventilator during the day before going back on at night.

Linzi says this would give them the freedom they have been longing for since the crash.

“We wouldn’t need to be accompanied everywhere by someone else all the time so we could have time alone,” she explained.

“It would also make travelling easier as we wouldn’t have to carry so much equipment with us, so it’s absolutely wonderful.”

Mr Bonney, who is currently in hospital in Middlesbrough, said his attempts to come off the ventilator would be made “step by step”.

He reportedly said: “Life is day by day. That is what spinal cord injury teaches you.

“Everything has to be prepared and planned for. The days of grabbing my phone, wallet and keys on my way out of the door are gone for ever.”

The couple are now urging any carers looking for work to contact the Carlisle branch of care firm Neuro Partners.

The company is set to take on the contract to provide round-the-clock care for Mr Bonney and is currently holding a recruitment drive. Phone 01228 635551 to find out more.

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