Hi everyone… I’ve always found it helps to share my story and to explain where the inspiration for how the foundation began. I hope that, through reading about my journey so far, the spark of inspiration is ignited in you as well, though this is only the beginning…
It was August 19th 2013 when my best friend Keshia and I finally arrived in New York City. We checked into our hotel full of excitement and anticipation for the days ahead. However, as it was already past 10pm, we decided to call it a night so that we could get up bright and early for our first full day in the Big Apple.
The morning of August 20th was soon upon us and we were so excited to explore the city and it’s iconic landmarks, especially the shops! We had breakfast and immediately set off for our first stop, Time Square. It was everything we could have imagined and more. We felt so lucky to be sharing such a memorable experience with each other and couldn’t wait for what else New York had to offer.
We strolled around the streets of New York taking in the sights and sounds with the biggest smiles on our faces, until eventually the heavy heat of mid summer Manhattan began to take its toll. We decided, in true New York fashion, to stop at a hot dog vendor for a drink and then continued to walk down by Rockefeller Centre. As we approached the end of the road, the heated sounds of an argument between a taxi driver and a cyclist could be heard over the buzz of the city. The cyclist was the first to mount the pavement where Keshia and I was walking only to be followed, seconds later, by the taxi driver! However, in such a crowded street there was bound to be some collateral damage and in some strange twist of unbelievable fate, he hit me, severing off my left foot.
I was launched into the air and landed in what can only be described as a huge flower bed. The impact knocked me unconscious and I was out cold
for a few minutes until the frantic screams of my best friend jolted my mind back into this bizarre new reality. I opened my eyes and was faced with a scene so extraordinary it felt like a film or a news story, only this time it was my life. I found myself surrounded by people frantically calling ambulances while numerous passerby’s attempted to come to my aid.
However, it was one person, in particular, that would save my life, a plumber who was thankfully working in the city that morning ran over, took off his belt and wrapped it around the top of my left leg. He then took a dog lead and wrapped it around my right leg. His courage and decisive thinking stopped me from bleeding to death. At this point, I still didn’t know that my foot was not attached to me and that it was, in fact, a few feet away underneath the taxi.
I also had help from another person, Dr. Mehmet Oz who was filming right across the street in his studio when he heard all the noise and commotion outside and ran over to help. He checked over what Dave Jusino had done and confirmed that it was Dave’s quick thinking that had saved my life.
The Ambulance finally arrived to take me to the Bellevue Hospital, which would be my home for the next 6 weeks. I underwent 4 surgeries just to get my leg in a suitable condition to be able to wear a prosthetic. Unfortunately it wasn’t just my left leg that needed attention, I also suffered a blow to the back of my head, which required 10 staples, and, as a result, my short-term memory has never been the same. My right leg was badly torn open and I now suffer with permanent nerve damage and loss of feeling in my toes. My ribs were bruised and I had multiple cuts, scrapes and bruises all over my body.
After a long and painful recovery I was finally discharged from hospital and was able to make one more stop before I flew home, The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz invited me onto his show to share my story and I was so pleased to be able to thank him in person for what he had done. In a wonderful gesture Dr. Oz also surprised me by inviting Dave Jusino so that I could attempt to thank the man who saved my life, although words could never do my gratitude justice. I was so unbelievably moved that someone could be this generous and caring, to do all this for me, it is a day I will never forget.
I returned home to the UK to an amazing homecoming surrounded by all my loved ones and the messages from well wishes all around the UK started to pore in. I was so overwhelmed by everyone’s love and support and it really helped me push forward with my recovery.
Whilst I was getting on with my studies, my sister had kindly set up an appointment to go and see a prosthetic leg specialist or so I thought. Saturday morning came and I was up ready and excited for the day ahead. We arrived at Rehab Prosthetics for me to be greeted by hair, make-up, a film crew and Dr. Oz. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Dr. Oz was not only there to surprise me but he had travelled all the way to Leicester of all places! I got into hair and make-up and then sat down for my interview with Dr. Oz. The interview started but I was still unsure why he had made such a huge trip, and then he said it.
“Since the moment I got to know you, I admire what you’ve been able to do, I don’t want you to be held back. Would you let me get you the limb that you need? So you can get on with your life. I want to introduce you to Shep and to Gordon; these are two world experts in prosthesis. I want to give you the kind of prosthesis an Olympic athlete would get”.
I couldn’t believe what he was telling me, not only did this man help me at the scene of my accident and reunite me with me hero on his show, now he was giving me the best care in prosthetics available for two years! With Dr. Oz’s generosity and care I was able to live my life the way a young woman in their 20’s should and I went onto to graduate with a 2:1 in Fashion Buying (with design) right beside my friends.