Fitness coach who spent 10 days in a Covid coma thanks 'amazing' Milton Keynes Hospital staff who saved his life

He's doing a spin bike marathon to raise funds for the hospital charity
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A super-fit man who almost died from Covid is launching a fitness fundraiser to thank the hospital staff who saved his life.

Fitness coach and former PE teacher Neil Westerby, 59, came down with the virus on Christmas Eve last year and just five days later his wife found his almost unconscious and unresponsive of the sofa at their Emerson Valley home.

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An ambulance was called and he was rushed to MK hospital, where it was found he had thrombosis caused by Covid and blood clots on his lungs, which stopped oxygen getting around his body.

Neil was super fit when he was struck down by CovidNeil was super fit when he was struck down by Covid
Neil was super fit when he was struck down by Covid

"My wife and daughter were told to say goodbye to me as they didn’t think I would make it," he said.

"I was put in intensive care and on a ventilator for nine days...The next time I woke up I was in Ward 16, which is the pulmonary ward, and put on an oxygen mask."

There physiotherapists took Neil under their wing and reduced his oxygen levels daily until he was able to breathe unaided.

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"I was then asked to start rehabilitation. I started by standing up and lifting up my knees holding on to a stepper then I started to try and walk - but it was almost impossible and exhausting," he said.

Neil's wife and daughter were told to say a final goodbye to himNeil's wife and daughter were told to say a final goodbye to him
Neil's wife and daughter were told to say a final goodbye to him

On January 16 2020 Neil was discharged and set himself the gruelling task of getting back to his previous levels of fitness.

"The first day I couldn’t walk more than a couple of hundred meters. By first week I was doing 1km after 6 weeks I was walking 6km daily," he said.

"I had a target to get back on the spin bike and I started on my bike at home. After a couple of weeks I was doing three virtual spin classes a week - it was great to be back riding again.

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"I had a target to be ready to resume my classes at the gyms I work at and I went from three to nine spin classes a week. It was very scary but I made it with the help of the physiotherapists who were constantly monitoring my progress."

Neil, who works at Wolverton Swimming and Fitness Centre and Nuffield Health, is full of praise for the hospital staff and physios.

"They were absolutely amazing, The treatment I received was second to none. All in all I owe my life to everyone at the hospital and I want to give a little bit back," he said.

Neil, who is also a former football coach, has organised a five hour charity spinathon at the Wolverton fitness centre on January 16 - a year to the day that he left hospital. People can join in by paying to take part in special classes run by top instructors.

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"We have a great line up of instructors that have volunteered to join me on this great event, including Jo Francis, Larry Cavelle, Jeff Ward, Leigh Tapley Jon Hall, Hannah Collis, Helen Harris and Lou Atkinson," he said.

"We are asking for a £100 donation per bike and there will be 20 bikes available. This will be for the five hours and you can share your bike with others and maybe you yourself can be sponsored for your own particular charity? There will also be an option of one full class ride at £20. Each class will be 45 minutes long.

"I really hope you can join me and fellow instructors to raise some great money for a great cause,"

Those unable to attend can contribute through a Just Giving page here.

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