Pioneering prosthesis and handbike donation allow man to regain his independence
A former soldier, who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan, is set to gain a new lease of life after being given a Wolturnus handbike through veterans’ charity Blesma, the Limbless Veterans’ charity.
Lloyd Bull, 27, lost his legs above the knee and some fingers on his right hand in 2010 when the metal detector he was using failed to detect an improvised explosive device (IED), which he then stepped on.
The former private with the 1 Mercian regiment recovered at Hedley Court and is now back at home with his partner Kristie, and their two children, who are six and four years old.
For many years he used a wheelchair to get around but last year, thanks to pioneering Osseointegration surgery – where an implant is inserted into the bone of the residual limb leaving an external fixation point for a prosthesis – he’s been able to get up and about and back to some fitness, doing weights in the gym and regularly going fishing. However, what he really wanted was to get back into cardiovascular exercise.
He said: “You can only do so much at the gym and I can do weights all the time but what I really want is to get the heart pumping and break a proper sweat. We’re getting married next year and I have some weight to lose too!”
Through the charity, Blesma, which helps war veterans who have lost limbs on duty, and a donation of a Wolturnus Antaras handbike from Ottobock, Lloyd now has a chance to get slim for his wedding day and break the sweat he really wants to.
“It’s absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait to see what I can do with it. I’m definitely going to give it everything I’ve got,” said Lloyd. “The kids love it as well – they call it my Batmobile!”
Tom Hall, Lloyd’s support officer with Blesma, said: “We’re excited for Lloyd as we know this handbike is going to give him so much more independence, confidence and ultimately, good health and fitness. We’re so grateful to Ottobock and Wolturnus for this donation.”
Ottobock is a supplier of innovative and practical solutions that restore human mobility and help people to rediscover personal independence. Its wide product range includes prosthetic and orthotic components, wheelchairs, and rehabilitation and mobility products.
Russell Pizzey, Technical Services Manager at Ottobock, which distributes Wolturnus wheelchairs and handbikes in the UK, said: “This is the second handbike we’ve been able to donate to Blesma and we’re thrilled they both now have good homes and will be enjoyed to the fullest.
“Veterans like Lloyd deserve every opportunity to enjoy good exercise and the great outdoors.”