We've all had tumbles off the bike and accidents in our lives that invoke a feeling of doubt and worry. Fear begins to worm its way in and negative thoughts manifest. For Karen Brooke, it was a lot more than just a little tumble...
After suffering serious brain injuries after a freak fall, Karen Brooke is defying the odds to take part in a marathon charity cycling event to raise money for the air ambulance service that saved her life.
A passionate cyclist before the devastating accident, Karen slipped on ice outside her home as she was leading her horse. Startled at her fall, the horse kicked out hitting Karen on the side of her head causing life-changing injuries. Following her accident, Karen was airlifted in minutes by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to specialists at Leeds General Infirmary. The 51-year-old suffered two skull fractures and severe bruising and bleeding on the brain.
Karen was in a coma for two months and initially suffered personality changes as well as paralysis down her right side. She was transferred to Dewsbury Hospital where she spent a further four months in rehabilitation learning how to walk, talk, read and write again.
Two years on from the accident and Karen has signed up to take part in the eighth annual Pedal For Pounds - a 260 mile charity bike ride on the ‘Wagner Way’ from Dortmund, Germany, to Huddersfield.
“I wanted to take part to raise money for the Air Ambulance and to give myself a challenge. It is very hard but I will do it." - Karen Brooke
Karen, who can currently only walk short distances with a stick, is hoping to complete between 20 and 30 miles of the route each day on a tandem provided by the Streetbikes community cycling project who are also providing co-riders for her throughout the journey.
Pedal For Pounds is part of the ‘Keep It Up’ Campaign between Huddersfield Town Football Club and Yorkshire Air Ambulance which has generated more than £1.4m since its launch in 2009, with monies raised split equally between HTAFC’s Academy and the rapid response emergency service charity.
Karen is hoping to raise as much money as possible throughout her cycle challenge and hopes to raise awareness and inspire others who have suffered injury and setback, to get back on the bike again. To make a donation, head over to her Just Giving page here.