Rae Mohammed Saleem raised an eye-watering £1,286 for WheelPower by cycling from London – Brighton.
Father of three Rae attended the WheelPower Inter Spinal Unit Games in 2018 becoming paralysed from the neck down following a cycling accident.
The ride marked Rae’s 2-year recovery and Rae wanted to raise money to thank WheelPower for supporting him during his rehabilitation. Rae even used the same bike he was riding when he had his accident – although it had been repaired!
Rae was cycling down a hill when he clipped the he clipped the curb. He went over the handle bars and landed face down on the concrete pavement. The crash left him with severe facial injuries, a cracked skull and a broken neck.
Rae was fortunate enough that one of the first people that came to his aid was a nurse who knew exactly what to do and refused despite his pleading to move him but kept him as he was and called the Emergency services, keeping him conscious.
He was taken to Barnet Hospital and then transferred to the Royal London Major Trauma Unit where nurses and doctors told the extent of his injuries and that, although he was lucky to be alive, he would not walk again.
‘That was so shocking to be told that, given what I thought was a simple bike accident’, admits Rae.
Rae began his journey as a quadriplegic. Towards the end of his spell at Royal London he suddenly started to feel some movement coming back in his left foot.
‘It was such a surreal moment one that I hope I will never forget as we take all these movements for granted. From then I was determined to prove the naysayers wrong’, he says, ‘I even attempted to do exercises in the hospital bed so that my body would attempt to remember movement’.
During his rehabilitation, Rae attended the WheelPower Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium where he was able to try out over 20 different sports and activities.
‘I was so amazed with how the Inter-Spinal Unit Games adapted so many sports for wheelchair users. I enjoyed trying out wheelchair cue sports, cricket and seated javelin. It has triggered a desire to want to do more, and help WheelPower transform lives’, comments Rae.
By July 2019, after almost two years rehabilitation Rae is back up on his feet and walking.
Reflecting on his experience Ray told us ‘It’s amazing how surprised you feel when you look back at how you were paralysed and then acknowledge where you are now and how much you have achieved. The whole experience gave me a new perspective on life. I’ve achieved my goal of losing weight and am now at 70kg (losing over 45kg) and my muscle mass has changed’.