A MOTORCYCLIST who broke his spine and had to be resuscitated at the roadside will take on the Great North Run for a charity which gave him hope when he needed it most.

Lewis Carruthers was living life to the full in Australia when he was involved in a serious motorbike accident last September, five days before his 25th birthday.

As he negotiated a corner, he lost control of his bike and crashed into a boulder and a parked car.

Mr Carruthers, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, would have died if it were not for a paramedic who was among those riding with him that day.

However, his injuries were serious and extensive; a broken spine, nine broken ribs, a punctured right lung, a broken arm and a head injury causing two bleeds on his right frontal lobe.

Fearing the worst, his parents and step-parents flew out the same day but, thankfully, by the time they arrived, the former Woodham Academy pupil’s condition had stabilised.

Mr Carruthers, a mechanical engineer and draftsman, spent five weeks in an induced coma and a week later was flown back to the UK, where he was immediately transported to the RVI in Newcastle.

He was then moved to the spinal unit at James Cooke University Hospital in Middlesbrough to begin rehabilitation.

There were no guarantees he would ever walk again but his naturally cheerful disposition, family support and inspirational talks by the spinal cord injury charity Back Up saw him through.

He said: “I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t walk again but there was a chance I would and when I heard there was a chance I had to go for it. No-one else could do it for me so I seized the opportunity. You have to be positive.”

Thanks to intense physiotherapy, he is now able to walk short distances and is training to take part in the Great North Run in his wheelchair this September to raise funds for Back Up.

“I would like to thank the staff at the James Cook spinal unit,” said Mr Carruthers, who spent a total of five months in hospital.

“They were amazing. I also want to thank everyone at Back Up. They were so inspirational and made everything seem that little bit more possible.”

To sponsor Mr Carruthers, visit justgiving.com/Lewis-Carruthers

For more information about Back Up, visit backuptrust.org.uk