Simon Connellan – Prudential RideLondon

This article is taken from Prudential Ride London’s website, as GBS survivor Simon Connellan discusses his recovery from the syndrome and raising money for GAIN: 

While Simon learns to walk again he’s also training for Prudential RideLondon

In December 2017, after a typical bout of the flu, 57-year-old Simon Connellan from Talygarn, Wales was unexpectedly struck down with Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). This left him paralysed in both his arms and legs and initially Simon was unable to walk more than 20ft without a Zimmer frame. However, after two weeks in hospital, Simon was able to return home to his family for Christmas. For the next four weeks he could not walk without the aid of a stick. “This can happen to anyone,” Simon said. “I had to really push my body and my mind to get back on my feet again. I was lucky to recover as well as I did, but I still have trouble walking and I get very tired. Some are not so lucky. This condition can lead to months in intensive care and some spend years rebuilding their lives from a wheelchair.” Before he fell ill, Simon had travelled to London to cheer on others riding Prudential RideLondon events, and he was reminded of how much he had enjoyed cycling around London when he was younger. He decided to enter the ballot to take part in the 100-mile ride in 2018. Despite having been struck with GBS, Simon is still determined to fulfil his ambition to ride the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 and has made every effort to get back into cycling over the past few months. He has been using a turbo trainer and choosing flat rides to train locally in and around Cardiff. “Just before I was hospitalised with GBS, I cycled from London to St Malo in France,” he said. “Now I’m working hard to ride just 20 miles. This condition has set me back to zero again. It has been a struggle since Christmas, but I am making great progress. I’m looking forward having the opportunity to prove that I can still ride this event, although there will be a lot of physio and training involved.” Simon is riding in support of the charity Guillain-Barre & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN), which provides support and advice for those affected by GBS, CIDP and associated inflammatory neuropathies. He has already exceeded his fundraising goal of £600. Simon will be dedicating this ride to a close friend, David, who is also suffering from the same condition, however has been left unable to speak as a result. He said: “This terrible illness left me feeling lost and trapped, so I want to support those who are struggling worse than me.”

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