Over the course of 2017, the Reperio team actively raised £1,000 for our team member John James Baird. JJ has taken up the challenge to run in the London Marathon in April and donate all fundraising to CLIC Sargent. It hasn’t been an easy run (excuse the pun) for John James over the last few years. We will let him tell you his story (warning, if you are squeamish, stop here).
As some of you may know I am running the London Marathon on 22nd April 2018 for CLIC Sargent.
Running a Marathon always been on my bucket list and now more so than ever.
I was fortunate enough to play semiprofessional Rugby League at Oxford RL for a few years in England. Like any sport, injuries are part and partial, but we take them all for granted and carry on.
On the 11th of June 2016, my life was turned upside down from a simple dead leg. Yes, a dead leg, charley horse, corked leg or whatever you call it, we have all had them and never thought too much of them.
This a dead leg actually led to my leg dying!
Playing the week before I picked up a dead leg, nothing serious and I played the rest of the game. At the end spoke to the doc and he told me the usual, REST & ICE.
Fast forward a week, while warming up I felt a pop in my right thigh and immediate pain set in. Within about 30 minutes my leg had tripled in size. The only thing I was initially concerned with was, “how was I going to play?”
About one hour later I was being violently sick, losing the feeling in my leg and going in and out of consciousness. An ambulance was called, and I was rushed to Coventry A&E.
I have been through a fair bit in terms of injuries, but I can wholeheartedly say that this was by far the most pain that I have ever been in.
At first, they thought my femur was fractured but was soon ruled out and then quite a few doctors came on the scene which was worrying. Nothing worse than whispering doctors. My lower right leg started to go a funny colour and I had lost most of the feeling in it, not able to move my toes or foot.
It was decided that I had compartment syndrome and they were going to have to operate. Anything to relieve the pain.
Now it gets good.
They told me I may lose my lower leg and I had to be rushed immediately to surgery. Basically, signed my life away and rushed into theatre to potentially wake up with half a leg.
I can remember the first thing I had asked when I woke up, “was my leg still there?”, answer yes but I had parts of thigh cut away as it died and two impressive open wounds to boot. I had no feeling in my right leg from my foot to halfway up my thigh.
I spent the next month bedridden in a hospital only being moved for surgery. I was in a total of 40 days and had 5 surgeries on my leg to try and fix it. It was not a smooth ride and it was all made easier by infections, blood clots in my lungs and weight loss.
When I first spoke with the doctor, I was told that I would be very lucky to walk, and running was out of the question. I was also told that I would most likely have to use a walking aid to get around for the rest of my days. 28 and hearing that was devastating.
I managed to get out of the hospital and return home to Northern Ireland. I was sent to the Royal Victoria Hospital and signed up to physiotherapy for 3 days a week. Lots of pain, hardship and more surgery followed.
This was my life for the next 15 months, lots of highs and definitely lots of lows. I finally was able to sign off, walk unaided (slight limp) and return to work.
Which leads me to now, running the London Marathon.
After being told that I would struggle to walk again, let alone run has given me the motivation to sign up and run. My leg will never be the same again after losing parts of it and with needing more surgery, this will not stop me.
Lots of things have changed and I am thankful to still have 2 legs as it could have been a lot worse right now.
I will be running the London Marathon for CLIC Sargent and raising money for them along the way.
I think everyone has been affected in some way by cancer. A devastating disease but even more so when it affects the lives of young people who have yet not had the chance to live. CLIC Sargent fights tirelessly for children and young people with cancer and will also support the families if the worst happens.
Any support, no matter how small will help a huge amount to those affected by cancer.
John James Baird'
You can donate to John James' London Marathon Fundraising and help children and young people affected by cancer.