Double amputee prepares for sailing adventure

14 November 2017 08:40

Double amputee Paul Johnson will set sail off Gran Canaria

Double amputee Paul Johnson will set sail off Gran Canaria

A young man who had both his legs amputated after being electrocuted is not only walking again, but is about to set sail on a global adventure.

After spending a month in intensive care and several more months in Glasgow Royal Infirmary's burns unit, 24-year-old Paul Johnson has made considerable advances in his recovery, undergoing intensive rehab and being fitted with prosthetics.

Despite fears that he would never walk again, the former waiter will now achieve the unimaginable, and spend a week at sea off the coast of Gran Canaria, as part of a programme run by the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

"The ship has been completely adapted for people with disabilities, so we're able to do the sails, helm the ship, scrub the deck, work in the galley - basically it's a working holiday, a working adventure," says Paul.

"I couldn't have imagined I'd be doing something like this. I just wanted to walk never mind set sail on a boat so this is going to be absolutely incredible."

A life-changing inciden t

Paul was crossing railway lines late one night in November 2014, as he returned from a night out in Glasgow.

"My head was a bit messed up at the time so I was drinking quite a fair amount and I was coming home late from a night out and tried to take a shortcut over train tracks," he said.

"I don't remember much from then but what I do remember is waking up about two hours later with my legs on fire."

He managed to put out the fire and drag phone for an ambulance, who took him to hospital for emergency treatment.

Overwhelming support

Paul credits Finding Your Feet ¬- a charity providing one-to-one and group support to amputees and families - with rebuilding his confidence after the life-changing accident.

They've supported Paul in passing his driving test, reigniting his passion for guitar, and learning new skills such as gardening and cooking.

Sailing the Canarian coastline is the latest phase in Paul's recovery, and if all goes well he hopes to take part in a longer sail to South Africa later.

Paul hopes to raise £15,000 for Find Your Feet and is raising money via http://mydonate.bt.com/events/sealegs.

If you have a medical condition or disability, you can still enjoy adventure breaks and sporting holidays by taking out sports travel insurance.

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