A CRASH victim told he would not walk again for years has run two marathons in less than 12 months and the London Marathon is next on his list.
Rachid Afouzar. of Horn Lane, Acton, has been raising money for London’s Air Ambulance to thank the medics who restarted his heart and saved his life in February last year.
The 40-year-old was struck by a bus at the junction of Acton High Street and Horn Lane, breaking his skull, collarbone, shoulder blades and all his ribs. He suffered numerous injuries to his internal organs and severe cuts and bruises. He has permanently lost hearing in his left ear, affecting his balance and often making it difficult for him to stay upright.
Despite the devastating injuries, Mr Afouzar fought to get back on his feet and get back to the sport he loves: running.
Doctors have been amazed by his recovery.
He said: “When doctors said I wouldn’t walk for a long time I didn’t want to believe them. On the fifth day of my recovery I decided to stand up. I took off my oxygen mask and got out of bed.
“I got up as much as possible after that. It was painful. It was hard. But I just saw one thing in front of me: me walking again.”
Mr Afouzar slowly built up his stamina – from being forced to sleep for hours after just a few minutes walking to completing the Berlin Marathon in three hours five minutes in September last year.
At the Marrakesh Marathon in January he beat that time by two minutes. He hopes to complete the London Marathon in April in three hours.
He said: “Sometimes when I run I cry because of the pain, but I’m so lucky to be able to run again. Running is my life and it’s the only time I can’t hear the tinnitus the accident gave me – it’s like having an air conditioner going in my ear.”
The personal trainer said he could not have got this far without the support of his friends at Ealing Eagles running club and at Energize Gyms, where he works for free for a couple of hours at a time before exhaustion takes over.
Thanks to the two marathons he has raised £1,500 of his £2,500 target for London’s Air Ambulance which relies heavily on public donations.
He said: “They’re angels. I would not be alive without them.”
n Visit www.justgiving.com/Rachid-Afouzar to donate or find out more.