Sanderstead amputee added ‘Channel swimmer’ to her list of accomplishments after a 3-hour relay effort over the weekend gave her fundraising campaign the final push to pay a hand bionic.
Nicola Wilding, 44, was part of a five-person team that set out from Folkestone on their 21-plus-mile journey in the dark at 1:10 a.m. on Monday as part of the #NickyNeedsAHand campaign.
Each member of the “Dover Darlings” team had to swim three one-hour spells from their boat, Masterpiece. – who cast off at such an unfriendly hour to take advantage of the treacherous tides of the English Channel.
And 14h 53min and 22sec later, they arrived safe and sound in France.
“I don’t know how many penguin swimmers attempted the crossing, but I will say I’m the first from Sanderstead to be 44,” said Wilding.
Wilding set out to cross the Channel – in addition to the Half Ironman triathlon she completed earlier this month – to raise money for her to be fitted with a thought-controlled bionic hand.
Wilding needs at least £ 30,000 for the procedure, and by the time the Channel arrived his fundraiser had reached £ 23,000. Thanks to its cross-Channel efforts, the fundraising is now close to its objective.
Television producer Wilding lost the use of her right arm in a car crash two decades ago.
While driving along the A23 from Brighton, Wilding suffered a tire puncture at 70 mph. Thinking quickly, she managed to avoid all other road users and steer the car into the emergency lane.
However, without any crash barriers, his car cut across the curb and drove away. Wilding sustained a severe brachial plexus injury, damaging nerves in his right hand and forearm.
Since 1999, she has undergone numerous muscle and nerve transplants in order to restore her functions, while raising her son on her own.
In 2017, Wilding underwent elective amputation and reconstructive surgery to help restore the nerve pathways in her arm and relieve the chronic, constant pain she had endured.
The money Wilding collects will be used to provide him with a Bebionic hand, one of the most realistic prostheses in the world, as well as other operations to reconstruct and restore nerve pathways.
With the specialized prosthesis costing over £ 30,000, Nicola’s choices are to raise enough money for the operation or to opt for an additional amputation to reduce her pain.
The particular prosthesis sought is a revolutionary myoelectric model designed to be connected to motor nerve sites and connected via electrodes where a strong signal is detected. To move the prosthetic hand, Wilding will need to reflect and perform an action so that the signals can be read and the action completed.
“There isn’t a lot of money you can ask your friends and family for,” Wilding said.
“My son has been absolutely fantastic. Not only did he donate as many donations as he could, but he also took a lot of time in his busy schedule as a freelance scaffolder to get me running and helped me with all my kit.
“My mother has also been my rock throughout my journey, enduring all the early starts of my triathlons, she is never far from me!
“I hope this can not only be an opportunity for me to be free from pain, but also to help other amputees realize that quality of life can be improved with the right support and technology.”
To donate to #NickyNeedsAHand and learn more about her efforts and those of the supporting charity, the SuperHero Foundation, click here.
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