Just under a year ago Ian Hawkins was hoping to leave hospital after contracting covid and spending more than two months in Walsall Manor.
Now, the father-of-two and proud grandfather is planning a 26 mile charity walk to raise money for the Critical Care Rehabilitation Team – and he hopes staff, former patients, local businesses and communities will all step up and join in or support.
Ian, aged 58, is now looking forward to the birth of his second grandchild later this year; his granddaughter was born whilst he was in critical care and she was lifted up to the window of the unit so that he could see her.
He said: “I found it really helped me to set goals during my recovery.
“Those goals may only have been small to start with, walking to the kitchen for example. But then I’d build on those goals. I was able to return to work last summer and have managed to walk a distance of 15 miles now.
“Working with Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity we have organised a 26 mile sponsored walk starting from the hospital, going along the canal network to Chasewater and back to the hospital.
“We want to raise money for rehabilitation equipment that will help other patients – both covid survivors and others who have been critically ill and need support.
“I have been supported by the hospital’s Critical Care Rehabilitation Team and in the community and the work they do to get you back living life as best you can is amazing.”
Ian, who owns his own domestic appliances business, added: “My goal is to walk all 26 miles and we will be joined by Walsall Healthcare staff but I’d like to invite others to join us too. They don’t need to do all 26 miles; people may want to join in for a couple of miles and it would be fantastic if former patients came along either to take part or cheer us on. There are pubs along the way and it would also be good to show our support for local businesses.”
The walk is set for Sunday 27 June and more details can be found on Ian’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ian-hawkins-walsall-manor?utm_term=e22WBGA94
Ian was admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital on 29 March after developing Covid-19 symptoms and experiencing breathing difficulties. Within 24 hours he was placed on full ventilation and over the next few weeks he suffered pneumonia, sepsis, multiple-organ failure and a secondary bacterial infection.
As well as seeing his family through the Critical Care Unit window, at one point Ian’s bed was brought outside so he could see his beloved pet dog Indi.
He was able to go home on 9 June 2020 and has been focusing on his recovery and looking to the future.
If you’d like to be involved in this charity event please contact Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley on 01922 656643 or email here Georgie.Westley@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk
Further details, including the full route, will be released over the next few days.