A father-of-four who was told he would never walk again after a freak accident completed a triathlon to raise hundreds of pounds for the charity which saved his life.
Jason Le Masurier, 46, of Bare, was left with a near-fatal brain injury and four skull fractures while kite-surfing on Blackpool beach in 2007.
The North West Air Ambulance was on scene almost straight away and Mr Le Masurier was flown to the Royal Preston Hospital in just 40 minutes.
He credits the charity’s rapid response with saving his life.
He was in hospital for two years but, with strength of mind and perseverance, he failed to accept his doctor’s belief that he would never walk again and finished this month’s Skipton Triathlon, a 20km route including a 5k run and 400 metre swim, to raise nearly £800 for the charity.
Mr Le Masurier, whose wife also took part, said: “When I had my accident, my wife Liz was pregnant with our son Jack, and I spent two years in hospital.
Without the North West Air Ambulance, I would not be with them today and taking part in such a challenge.
“They say to stand the best chance of survival you have to get to hospital in an hour, so without them I wouldn’t be here today.”
A former university lecturer in civil engineering, Mr Le Masurier was determined he would walk again after his neurologist insisted he would need a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Within a week of leaving hospital, he was on his feet again after starting work with the physio team at Salt Ayre.
He explained: “They had a different approach and they had me walking again in about a week. In hospital, they wouldn’t let me try to walk because they were quite convinced I couldn’t so it was a breath of fresh air to see people who would let me try.”
His self-belief rocketed and by August 2009 he was strong enough to walk down the aisle to marry partner Liz. At the start of 2010, he was swimming and able to ride a bike.
With growing confidence, he turned to his physio team and said: ‘I want to do a triathlon’.
Wife Liz added: “I am so grateful to the North West Air Ambulance for saving Jason’s life. Because of them, every day of our lives is a happy one. We feel so blessed. Every day of our lives is happy. Jason is an example of why you should never give up when things seem dark.”