Former patient and author Brian Abram, has dedicated his first illustrated children’s book to the staff on the Spinal Injuries Centre at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, who helped him to recover after a life changing accident.
Brian’s aim for the children’s book is to show youngsters that being in a wheelchair doesn’t have to prevent you from having fun and enjoying life.
In 2013, Brian (pictured above), from Halifax, was training for a fundraising bicycle ride to Spain when he had a terrible accident and suffered life changing injuries. He was in a coma for several weeks and spent a year in hospital. He is completely paralysed from the waist down and is now a full-time wheelchair user.
Brian, however, has turned his disability into a hilarious, illustrated children’s book which was published last month.
Originally, he intended his stories to help his young grandson, Charles, to understand why he had to spend his time in a wheelchair after becoming disabled six years ago Brian said: “I needn’t have worried, Charles was only six months old when I had my accident, so he’s only ever known me in a wheelchair. And, he just accepts it!”
Brian said: “Most spinally injured patients arrive at Pinderfields in a very bad state. You are baby-like in that you cannot even control your bodily functions and you may also be mentally in a very difficult place. You leave your dignity at the door. During your time in the Spinal Unit the incredible staff there build you back up. They show you how to manage those functions. They show you how to look after yourself and how to make the most of your new circumstances. And most importantly of all they give you back your dignity.”
His grandson proved to be the inspiration for the stories Brian wrote to entertain him. The young boy in the stories ‘The Adventures of Grandad Wheels!’ dreams up all sorts of ways for his Grandad to enjoy adventures, even though he is a full-time wheelchair user. As a result, in Brian’s first book, ‘Charlie’s Big Idea!’ Grandad finds himself unintentionally joining in at the skateboard park, and in another he is propelled round the supermarket by a fire extinguisher his grandson attached to his wheelchair!
Beverley Swales, Ward Manager on the Spinal Injuries Centre at Pinderfields Hospital, said “We are extremely honoured Brian has chosen to dedicate his very first book to our team. Brian has come such along way in his recovery and the team here have really enjoyed supporting and helping him on his journey. He has been a joy to work with.”
Brian hopes his stories will help children understand that people in wheelchairs are just like everyone else and can still achieve things and enjoy life, by getting them to laugh at the daft things this Grandad gets up to. He plans to read them to children in primary schools and encourage discussion, in a fun way, about the issues surrounding being in a wheelchair.
All proceeds from the sale of his first book will be donated to the two charities that helped him so much with his recovery; Spinal Injuries Association and Back Up.
Brian’s books can be purchased from his website www.grandadwheels.com