Jamie McAnsh, Co-Founder of See No Bounds tells us about his journey and experience with Flexyfoot. Alongside See No Bounds, Jamie is also a motivational speaker and adventurer. Jamie woke in 2014 paralysed from the waist down and his journey of strength and resilience is quite simply awe inspiring.
Read Jamie's story below; he's certainly achieved some amazing things and with the Mount Everest climb as his next challenge, who knows what he'll go on to conquer after this!
For me my story begins on the 6 January 2014. A normal day with a normal routine. It was bedtime. Like so many, you do your last-minute checks; make sure the dog has water, the doors are locked and then off to bed. However, that would also be an evening sleep that would start the same as any other and finish with a life changing event that would shape my future forever.
The 7 January 2014 I woke up. Paralysed from the waist down. During my sleep I had ruptured my spine caused by a rare aftermath of shingles. The Jamie McAnsh I once knew was, from that day on, gone. Who was left? The new version of me, the version now living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The person that had to learn everything from scratch, starting with washing, cleaning, and dressing myself.
It's not all doom and gloom though. I had my ups and downs, but soon got to grips with my wheelchair. Rehabilitation started a few months later. Learning to stand and sit, lean and reach, and over time step one foot in front of the other. Everything just took time!
I played sport. Wheelchair basketball, then rugby, I hand cycled 100 miles in 13 hours, and I even climbed a mountain on my bare hands. Before you ask, I am what many would call stubborn... I call it driven. Either way I aim for my goals, and I push hard to get there. I tell so many people that you need a dream, you need a goal, and you must give both everything you have. Determination and heart are what will drive you.
I first found Flexyfoot during my early days of being on crutches. It started at the Disability Expo in Birmingham. I met a guy called Jason Street. Jason had an amazing stand with some very cool looking crutches - SmartCrutch. New, innovative, modern, and robust. However, could they cope with off the limit use.
This was the start of a great relationship and so I went off to try and test these amazing products. To push them to the limits. And that is exactly what I did. Amazing in every way, except for one thing. The feet! Do not get me wrong, they are great for day-to-day use, but I am an adventurer and that is where they needed to excel. I play squash on crutches; I climb mountains and I love the great outdoors. These crutches needed an upgrade.
I fed this back and the world of disability walking aids for me changed forever. The relationship with Flexyfoot and SmartCrutch was formed. A fantastic crutch that carried me off the beaten track added with the Flexyfoot suspension, strength, long lasting and flexible movement meant that I could go almost anywhere. My balance was improved dramatically and with that my confidence went from strength to strength and my walking aids became an extension of my body rather than something I used daily.
My crutches and the Flexyfoot feet attached has meant so much for me. As a business owner I can stand tall with confidence, as the name of my company, See No Bounds and the relationship for me is not just a walking aid. I have played squash on them, walked off road, climbed Ben Nevis - the tallest mountain in the UK, climbed Snowdon - the tallest mountain in Wales, and soon to climb to Base Camp Everest. Flexyfoot for me have been a game changer; they come everywhere with me attached to my crutches. They are the silent heroes that no one ever sees or hears from, but in their own way they are changing lives forever.
All of this from a chance encounter, a single open conversation, and the development of a long-term relationship. It is amazing what you can do when you open your mind to new ideas and new opportunities.