James' wheelchair challenge after amazing recovery

James' wheelchair challenge after amazing recovery

Posted by Ali Birtwell on 28 March 2023

James Bilham is taking part in this weekend’s London Landmarks Half Marathon (2 April) to raise money for RNOH Charity, after a holiday day trip resulted in a life-threatening accident. 

Last June, whilst in Italy with family and close friends, a motor trike James was travelling on as a passenger crashed off the side of a cliff.  He suffered six broken ribs, a broken back and most seriously, a damaged spinal cord. At one point, consultants at the hospital in Italy thought he might die - so much so that his brother flew from Australia to say goodbye. Doctors were unsure how long his injuries were going to impact him for and if he was ever going to recover.

But six weeks later, last August, James was transferred to the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Stanmore, where he began his treatment rehabilitation programme for a further 10 weeks.

James says: "My health now is greatly improved but I still struggle with my daily tasks as I am so fatigued. I can walk with crutches but not very far at all and I can get myself in and out of my wheelchair and drive an automatic car which is wonderful as it gives me some independence. I know I will be mostly wheelchair-bound for the foreseeable future, but I still feel positive about what lies ahead for me and I am keeping a strong belief in my near full recovery in the future.

"The team here at RNOH and the facilities and care provided are amazing and my recovery has been truly astonishing. I was determined to focus on the positives and have been told that my strong-minded attitude has contributed greatly to my recovery so far.

"I am so grateful for the support that everyone at RNOH gave me in the early days of my rehabilitation and something I will come to rely on again in the future; and also for the RNOH Charity for its support with funding the hospital’s work so people like me can get a second chance at life."

James is taking part in the London Landmarks half marathon in his wheelchair, with a team of friends to raise money for our charity. You can donate to James' fundraising page here.

Find out more and donate to RNOH Charity here.