I was aged 19 when I broke my back. I was thrown from a quad bike, along with three of my friends from Edinburgh University, after it slipped off a hillside down into a ravine in rural Scotland. The others suffered only cuts and bruises but I could not feel anything from my bellybutton down and after an x-ray, it was revealed that I had smashed my T12 vertebra. It was clear that my chances of walking were severely limited. The doctors always maintained that if I could walk again it would be with aids, nevertheless I felt incredibly lucky to be here at all.
I spent two months in the Spinal Unit of the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow where I was operated on, before being transferred to Stoke Mandeville to be closer to home. It was here I had another operation involving a bone graft from by pelvis to reconstruct and fuse my T12 vertebra. The doctors advised me to take a year off from university. After a long time in bed, followed by continuous physiotherapy, I am, two years on, able to walk with crutches. However, my improvement, if any, will be small, so I am expecting to walk permanently on crutches. The NHS crutches I was given are a dull grey, click when you walk and worst of all, make you look and feel disabled. Together with my Mum, I tried to find something better. We spent hours on the internet and went to lots of medical exhibitions, both here and abroad, to find the best pair available to cheer up those injured.
We have now set up a website, www.coolcrutches.com selling comfortable, lightweight, robust, silent, height adjustable crutches that are not grey! The crutches have a removable, washable, neoprene squidgy hand grip to stop those awful sore hands. They also have an adjustable arm cuff to enable someone to carry a drink, or shut a door without the crutch falling off your arm onto the floor. They come in blue, gold, black, light pink, dark pink, camouflage and black and white spots.