A West Kirby triathlete is running in Sunday’s 43rd London Marathon to raise funds for the North West Air Ambulance Charity – just 12 months after the chairty saved his life.
Dad-of-two Paul Bradford was four weeks away from competing in the Ironman World Championship in the States when he suffered a horrendous accident in April, 2022, cycling home after a four-hour ride through North Wales.
The 46-year-old marketing manager suffered a brain injury, fractured skull, broken ribs and a severely injured jaw. Paul spent 10 days in intensive care, nine weeks in hospital, and six months off work.
But now – only days after he visited the North West Air Ambulance Charity base at Barton, Greater Manchester, to say ‘thank-you’ to the crew who saved his life – he is to compete in the London marathon.
Paul said: “Thanks to the crew that day my wife still has a husband and my children still have a father.”
He added: “While I have no recollection of the incident I just know the air ambulance crew were amazing. The speed by which they attend a scene and the care they provide saves lives and reduces disability which would otherwise occur through potential delays on the road to remote destinations by traditional ambulances.
“Until the accident I was not aware that the service is entirely funded by charitable donations. I was astonished by this and will raise awareness and funds to keep the air ambulance in the skies.”
Paul has set a target of £3,500 for the North West Air Ambulance Charity; people can donate to his marathon effort at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-bradfordnwaa
Ironically, Paul’s job involves working on future life-saving tech for ambulances, and his riding partner on the day was Tom Kennedy, an anaesthetist, who was able to provide life-saving care in the first instance.
The pair were travelling at 25mph when Paul collided with a stationary vehicle and the full impact was taken by his head and shoulder and he was knocked unconscious.
Tom said: “An ambulance was the first emergency service to arrive and two paramedics cleared blood from Paul’s mouth and provided a blanket to keep him warm. They gave me a cannula to put into his arm so that he could take some meds.
“Then the air ambulance arrived who I handed over to. They were very communicative and professional. The crew prepared some drugs and equipment for intubation, stablisation and transfer”
Tom also applauded how a member of the North West Air Ambulance Charity crew dealt with Paul’s wife Mel who was distraught when she arrived.
He said: “She was met by a crew member called Eimhear who dealt with the situation very well. She was clear and professional, kind and empathetic. Overall, the crew was clearly well drilled and efficient at what they do. They ruled in and out life-threatening issues as soon as possible and got Paul to Aintree University Hospital.”
Paul was later admitted to The Walton Centre which specialises in neurology. He spent 10 days in ICU and nine weeks in hospital. He was off work for six months while he underwent rehabilitation.
During his rehabilitation Paul wrote a book ‘The Sub 3-Hour Marathon Playbook’ – a step-by-step training system to inspire outstanding running.
The North West Air Ambulance Charity’s helicopters and critical care vehicles operate 365 days a year. Their highly skilled doctors and critical care paramedics on board provide enhanced pre-hospital care and hospital transfers to patients across the entire Northwest region each year – an area covering 5,500 square miles and over 8 million people.
Since its launch in 1999, the North West Air Ambulance Charity has been called to over 31,000 missions across the region, an average of around seven times a day.
Just as the many critically ill and injured patients would not have survived without the service the charity provides; the North West Air Ambulance Charity would not be here without the support of its community of fundraisers and partners.
The charity is not part of the NHS and doesn’t receive any government funding. They rely completely on public and corporate donations to carry on saving lives. The North West Air Ambulance Charity must raise over £12 million every year to continue its lifesaving service.
For more information on the North West Air Ambulance Charity or to donate, please visit their website or call 0800 587 4570.