Woman almost paralysed in freak hay bale accident to walk 75 miles for Leeds-based trauma charity
A woman who was almost paralysed after a freak farming accident will be walking 75 miles to raise money for a charity which helped her.
Grace Addyman, 31, was left with serious injuries after being crushed by two huge hay bales while working on her family’s farm in Knaresborough on July 21, 2020.
The impact of the accident left Grace with a number of injuries, including a broken tibula, fibula, femur, pelvis, lower spine and complex face fractures.
She was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where she faced a gruelling 16 hour surgery.
Grace, an IT worker, said: “I have a full time job in IT - a safe inside job - but I also live on my dad's farm after he passed away four years ago.
“Me and my brother-in-law were bringing the hay from the field into the farm for the horses, and we were working quite late because rain was forecast the next day.
“We stacked some of the hay and then I jumped out of the tractor to put another pallet down ready for the next section of hay to be brought in.
“As I was walking away the back collapsed, behind me and two bales fell from the stack, and luckily they bounced on the floor first because I had walked away from the stack a bit and wasn't right underneath it but one hit me from behind, straight to the floor and another one landed on my left foot.
"It's a bit of a blur for me from then but my brother-in-law came up like the Hulk pushed the hay bale off of me and the fire brigade removed the other bale.
“I was taken to the LGI for about 16 hours of surgery that first night, so it was basically the whole trauma team that came together to plan and perform operations on me.
“It was quite a surprise that I wasn't paralysed”.
Grace spent the next week in the intensive care ward and then three weeks on the trauma ward, where she was only permitted short visits due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was then Grace decided to get involved with the Day One Trauma Support, after being approached by its founder, one of her surgeons, Professor Peter Giannoudis.
Grace said: “I didn't fully realise the extent of how bad it was even when I was in hospital - I thought I was going to get up and walk out
“I had no idea what was coming and that's why I got involved with the Day One Trauma Support charity for some support.
“The hospital staff were absolutely amazing at looking after me but it's that extra support when your life has been wiped out from underneath you, and you have woken up with who knows what metal in you, a sprain on my leg and a face that’s been wired together.
“No one knows what it feels like and what it's going to be like so I did the peer support, with other trauma patients who have been through what you've been through and know what you are feeling.
“You can say as much or as little as you want and I think that was probably the first time I'd properly spoken about my accident when I told my peer support about all the different injuries.
“I remember my first conversation really well.
“He had been through an accident three years earlier and it made me think 'I'm not the only one that's going through this, he's gone through it and he is all right now'.
“I thought: ‘He’s doing things with his life and is out cycling and biking and things like that, maybe I can do it as well.’
Grace was able to leave the hospital after one month, but faced a long recovery at home.
She now feels she is at “about 60 per cent” through her recovery, and is able to drive, shower and eat.
She said: “Although things are easier for me now, I can't do a lot of the things that I used to do, like tie my own shoe laces or carry something up the stairs.
“I keep thinking 'what if I never can?' but you have to come back to yourself and say 'no, I will do it'.
“As I was active before, the doctors hope that I will get to about 90% of what I before which would be pretty miraculous".
Now almost one year on from the accident, Grace is taking on a huge challenge by taking part in the the charity's launch fundraiser: '75 Miles in July for Day One’.
She will be joined along the way by her partner Steve, and looks forward to walking with her baby niece - who was born the day after the accident - for a few hours.
Grace said: "Day One did a few marathons last year but I'm definitely not ready for that just yet, but the 75 miles in July I thought 'I could do that'.
"I can't run but I can walk for a couple of hours at a time now, so it's going to be a big challenge but I'm hoping I can chip away at it."
For more information on Day One visit www.dayonetrauma.org.
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.