Hudgell Solicitors’ ambassador Paul Spence is preparing to take on the biggest challenge of his life this weekend when he attempts to cycle 112 miles, run a full marathon and swim 2.4 miles all in one day.
Paul suffered a serious brain injury in 2012 but has since recovered to establish his own charity and run a community-based brain recovery centre in Hull.
In his role as an ambassador for Hudgell Solicitors, he provides personal support to injured people and their families, alongside the advice of our legal specialists.
In this role Paul offers a real insight for brain injury victims and families into how he remained positive and rebuilt his life.
Now he is hoping his latest physical challenge – the Ironman UK in Bolton this Sunday – will inspire others who suffer a similar fate to never give up and take a positive mindset towards brain injury recovery.
He said: “I have become well known for running marathons and completing physical challenges, as I do them to raise money for the charity.
“I have done more than 20 now as it sends out a very strong message to people who find themselves in the position I did that you can get up, you can be physically strong again and you can achieve.
“I’m not a strong swimmer and I’d never even cycled a 100 miles on a bike before in one go when I signed up. However, I have come as far as I have over the past seven years because I have been determined to challenge myself and never feel like I have done enough.
“Since the start of the year I’ve been training four or five times a week either running, swimming or cycling, sometimes twice in a day
“I managed my first 100 miles on the bike in March and then ran the Rome Marathon in April. Then I started putting the disciplines together in training, doing a mile in the pool then getting out on the bike before finishing with a run.
“Last month I stepped up a gear and did my first half distance triathlon, and I have done three of those now as part of my training. I’ve also cycled over 100 miles on a number of occasions. I’ve been training four or five times a week, which can consist of two mile swims, 80 miles on the bike or an 18 mile run.
“They have been long and hard days and it has taken a lot out of me, but I’m constantly learning more about my body, what I am capable of and how much food, rest and sleep I need to stay safe and perform at my best.
“Its extreme stuff as I’ve swam around-45 miles, cycled 1,500 miles, ran 390 miles and walked around 1,400 miles since the turn of the year.
“I never imagined I would be capable of any of this at one time. I’m going for it now and I’ll do whatever it takes to raise some more money for the charity and demonstrate what we are capable of as people, no matter what setbacks we suffer.
“If I manage it and cross that line, I’ll have completed the journey from intensive care to iron man in seven years. That will be the most fantastic feeling.”
Centre plays key role in providing community-based brain injury support
The PAUL For Brain Recovery centre has been hailed by health bodies for the role it plays in offering vital one-to-one family, educational and social support sessions to help people reach their full potential after brain injury, leading to it being commissioned by the local NHS.
Paul is fundraising through the ‘Iron Man’ challenge for his charity, to help support people who have suffered and are currently recovering from serious brain injuries.
However, he intends to donate 50% of the pledges to Daren Smith, of Hull, who woke up on his 50th birthday two years ago paralysed after a suffering debilitating and sudden stroke.
Daren, who had a passion for cycling before his stroke, has been recovering with the help of PAUL For Brain Recovery through specialist physiotherapy.
Cycling has formed a vital part of his rehabilitation, using specially adapted bikes, and he is now trying to raise enough money to buy his own bike, at a cost of £8,000, so he can ride on a more regular basis.
Paul said: “Daren is truly inspirational. He was completely paralysed on his left side, with no sight in his left eye and no longer able to walk, and was told that there was not much hope for recovery. He uses he bikes to ride side-by-side with someone who handles the steering and braking.
“Daren pedals and is doing so well. In the future he might be able to do more, he is certainly determined, and we want to help him every step of the way.”
Donate to support Paul and Daren at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PAUL4Brain