Life

NHS Prosthetist fundraising for a new bionic arm after cycling accident

A former Royal Marine and NHS Prosthetist and Orthotist who lost his arm in a cycling accident is now racing to contribute to fundraising efforts for his recovery.

Jim Ashworth-Beaumont, 55, was training on his bike for a triathlon last July when he was run over by a lorry, in an accident that nearly killed him and left him hospitalised for four months and a week.

In the midst of a long recovery, he is now taking a more active role towards fundraising for a bionic arm which will allow him to return to his clinical duties at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Ashworth-Beaumont and his family have already fundraised over £140,000 towards his surgery, of an estimated total of £300,000.

He said: “I always wanted to be more active, certainly with regards to any fundraising done on my behalf.

“Now that I’m fit enough to do that, I can show people that, firstly, I’m okay, because there’s a lot of people who have supported me that don’t even know me.

“But also, I don’t want to sit around and expect people to raise money on my behalf.

“At the end of the day, it’s my motivation to get back to work with patients and do the best that I can for them, and I feel kind of guilty to just expect people to regard that as a valuable thing.

“I might be a rubbish clinician, maybe I’m terrible at my job! They don’t know me!

“I love my job, man. I just want to get back right at it.””

TYPE II FUN: “I like working hard, to be honest. I do like feeling like I’ve actually got to do this.” Credit: Jim Ashworth-Beaumont

To aid the efforts, Ashworth-Beaumont is preparing a G3, a series in which runners complete a 5km and 10km race in one event and a 10km and 15km in two consecutive events, all taking place within six weeks.

The races take place around the hills of Guilford, Surrey, making them all that more challenging.

“It’s horrible, I’ll be honest with you,” described the Ironman racer.

On 10 September, Ashworth-Beaumont was able to stand from his bed for the first time since his accident.
Credit: Jim Ashworth-Beaumont

Physical and psychological challenges are not new to Ashworth-Beaumont, who served as a Royal Marine and is also a UKA certified running coach.

He expects his training and physiotherapy will allow him to succeed.

He added: “Training is about giving people a positive motivation to do things.

“One of the most fun things, both as a healthcare practitioner and also a coach, is bringing that psychological readiness.”

Just two weeks ago he ran a half-marathon, which he described as “slow” (he completed the 21 kilometre-race in about two hours).

He said: “I sort of ran before I could walk, that’s for sure.”

Dr Jim Ashworth-Beaumont after completing a race, before his accident
ALWAYS A RUNNER: Ashworth-Beaumont before his accident on 21 July 2020. Credit: Jim Ashworth-Beaumont

An orthotist’s job similar to an artistic craft, requiring of strength and skill to understand the patients’ needs and prepare the devices that aid their mobility.

To be able to do the work he loves, Ashworth-Beaumont would need to obtain a prosthesis with a functionality akin to a human arm.

The treatment, which involves several surgeries before the bionic arm can be adjusted, has only been successfully completed in six people in the world and is not currently done under the NHS.

Along with working hand-in-hand with his patients again, his plans for the future include completing an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

He said: “I want to understand the whole picture as far as people’s perception and approach to life goes.

“As a practitioner, I can make the experience more positive and lead to better results, by understanding the physiology of the mechanisms we use in prosthetics but also by picking somebody up and support them to have a better experience in healthcare.”

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