Road accident survivors cycle 200m to Paris
BRAIN injury survivors from north London are cycling from London to Paris to raise more than £10,000. West Hampstead resident Julie Bridgwater is one of the 10 cyclists pedalling 200 miles to the French capital
BRAIN injury survivors from north London are cycling from London to Paris to raise more than £10,000.
West Hampstead resident Julie Bridgwater is one of the 10 cyclists pedalling 200 miles to the French capital.
The 59-year-old, who lives in Greencroft Gardens, hopes to complete the feat within five days.
She is co-ordinating the ride as part of her work with the brain injury charity Headway North London.
She became involved with the charity after suffering a severe brain injury herself and has won a lifetime achievement award for her work.
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"Living with my injury is a big enough challenge in itself," she said "but the bike ride will be the first major exercise I have done since my accident. I'm nervous, excited, apprehensive, and I'm very much looking forward to the team building involved."
Ms Bridgewater was injured when she was hit by a speeding car on Adelaide Road in 1988.
Two years later, she became involved with the North London branch of the charity where she found support along the long road to recovery.
She has since been committed to raising awareness of the suffering caused by brain injury, which she describes as a "silent epidemic".
"People who have suffered from brain injury are frequently unable to tell their story as doing so only reminds them of who they once were," she said.
"At the same time, their families, which often include children, are too busy dealing with the consequences of the injury to focus on anything other than getting on with life."
Another member of the team Christopher Hickman, 50, regularly cycled around Europe before being hit by a car eight years ago while out on his bike.
The accident took place just two weeks after he had returned to Britain.
The London-Paris challenge in September will be his first major bike ride since the accident and he is looking forward to the challenge.
He said: "I'm all for the ride. But because of what happened, it's taken me a long time to try to get fitter. I try to keep as fit as possible but it's painful as my joints seize up.
"This will be a major step forward and a great achievement for me as I've loved cycling since I was a little boy."
Another member of the team is Daisy Upton, communications manager for SweetTree Home Care Services.
She said: "Julie's story, like so many others, is inspirational to us all.
"Not only because she has worked so hard to regain her life but also because she has dedicated the last 20 years to helping thousands of others suffering from the same type of experience she had."