A Bexhill woman is cycling from London to Brighton to raise money for the air ambulance charity that helped both her parents after a serious motorbike crash.
Jenny Ainsworth, 31, will take on the 55-mile ride from Clapham Common to Brighton’s Madeira Drive on September 15 in aid of the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance (KSSAA).
She decided to fundraise for the life-saving charity after air ambulance crews rushed to the aid of her mum and dad – Sonya and Stan – when they were involved in a serious collision at the junction of Bexhill Road and Filsham Road, in St Leonards.
Jenny, who works as an events manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “Mum and Dad have always been bikers.
“On October 13, they were heading to a vintage bike fair at the Stade. At 10.20 my Dad called me. He said they had been hit by a car and I needed to get there quickly. I asked, ‘Is Mum okay?’. At this point he broke down and said, ‘I don’t know Jenny, just get here’.
“My parents were driving down a straight road and a car turned into their path hitting them from the side. As the car hit them, they were thrown quite a distance apart from one another. “My Dad, with broken bones, tried to drag himself over to my Mum, but couldn’t get to her, and in turn, let me know whether she was okay.
“I got to the road closure, abandoned my car and ran and ran as fast as I could. What I saw was like a film set. I had spoken to my Dad, so I knew he was okay, so I ran straight for my Mum. Every step I could feel smashed glass under my feet and pools of blood splashed across the road.
“As I ran a couple of police officers grabbed me and held me back. The air ambulance crew were working on Mum. I struggled to get to her but couldn’t, so I watched from a distance.
“I truly believed she had died. Once they had got her stable I was able to see her. I knelt beside her and said, ‘Hello Mum, are you okay?’ to which she replied, ‘Who’s that?’. It broke my heart.
“Mum was airlifted to Brighton hospital for emergency surgery. She was later transferred to St. George’s Hospital in London. She has now had a total of six operations. Dad was also taken to Brighton in an ambulance – he went into emergency surgery straight after Mum. Both their injuries are life changing, especially Mum’s, whose leg is still at risk of amputation. However, they are alive and for that, we are eternally grateful.”
As well as raising money for KSSAA, Jenny wants to raise awareness of the Think Bike campaign. She is also giving blood, training to be a Health Walk leader and has signed up to receive basic training on mental health to support people who have seen or undergone traumatic situations.
She added: “I am not overly fit or any sort of bike enthusiast, but I thought to myself if I want to raise a decent amount of money I need to go hard or go home.
“I am obviously nervous about cycling on open roads, especially through London, but I would like to raise awareness of the Think Bike campaign, whether that be motor or push bike, and push myself to show my eternal gratitude to the doctors and paramedics who helped both my parents.
“I know there are thousands of charities that all need your support, but just £1 pays for a sheet of bubble wrap to keep a critically ill patient warm.
“It is something that no one should ever have to go through. No one knows when you’ll need the air ambulance services, it certainly isn’t something that ever crossed our minds. But to know this incredible service is on hand in an emergency where life is at risk, that is surely something worth supporting.”
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