20 July 2024

Amputee whose “world was turned upside down” after losing his leg invites others to join Walk for Wards to support Stars Appeal

An amputee is taking on a 5k challenge at the Stars Appeal’s Walk for Wards, which he says will be the “longest distance” he has walked with his prosthetic leg.

He is encouraging others to join him. 

Andy Hockey’s “world was turned upside down” last year when he had to have his leg amputated.

The week before Christmas 2022, Andy was unwell but thought he had a bad cold. On Christmas Eve he was rushed to Salisbury District Hospital where he was diagnosed with sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to an infection. The following day he had his toe and part of his foot removed. He later underwent surgery to amputate his lower leg.

Andy took on the 3km at last year’s Walk for Wards (Images: Spencer Mulholland)

He spent 56 days in hospital, including time on Radnor Intensive Care Unit where he was on life support and over five weeks recovering on Odstock Ward. Andy was also supported by the Hospital’s Wessex Rehabilitation Centre.

Andy said: “On January 3, 2023 my whole world was turned upside down as I underwent surgery to have my right lower leg amputated. I was heartbroken, absolutely devastated. I thought my life is over at 52. The following weeks were extremely difficult, I was very depressed and would wake up, look down at my missing leg and cry. I was worried about the future, how I would manage in a wheelchair. I felt useless, trapped, broken and scared.”

Andy & Sam at last year’s Walk for Wards (Images: Spencer Mulholland)

But he says his physiotherapy team gave him “a reason to get out of bed every morning” and “instilled the iron-willed determination that has defined my journey”. He adds: “They made me believe I would walk again. I accepted my disability and focused on my abilities. I have a lot to smile about, my prosthetic is just an inconvenience.”

During his time in Hospital Andy benefitted from quicker access to a CT scan thanks to the Stars Appeal’s second CT scanner, as well as the charity’s free Wi-Fi, which he says was a “lifeline”, enabling him to stay in touch with his family and friends. He also says a “wonderful” chaplain would regularly visit him and was a “great comfort when I was struggling health wise”. The Hospital’s chaplaincy service is supported by the Stars Appeal.

Andy, who took part in the 3k route at Walk for Wards last year, only six months after the amputation, will be upping the challenge by doing the 5k on Sunday, July 7 at Wilton House. He will be joined by his wife Sam. 

Andy took on the 3km at last year’s Walk for Wards (Images: Spencer Mulholland)

“I’m looking forward to the extra challenge. It will be the longest distance I’ve walked since I’ve had my prosthetic. It’s all about pushing myself,” adds Andy, who eventually wants to do the 10k. 

“I owe Salisbury Hospital my life. I had the most amazing team of people looking after me who helped me through some of my worst days.”

Andy, who is from Warminster, is encouraging others to join Walk for Wards and said: “You can do it at your own leisure and it’s in a lovely setting. You will be supporting a fantastic charity for a wonderful hospital.”

Time is running out to sign up for Walk for Wards. Entries close on June 30, register for free at www.starsappeal.org/event/walk-for-wards

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns