Islington man was paralysed in minutes and given 0% chance of walking again - but has not given up

Ly with Ivan, Kelly and Ryan

Ly with Ivan, Kelly and Ryan - Credit: Archant

Hours after watching Arsenal beat Chelsea at Wembley in August, Ly Coong Voong’s life changed forever.

For Ly Coong Voong, Sunday, August 2 was a “great” day.

On a sunny afternoon, the lifelong Arsenal fan was at Wembley as the Gunners beat Chelsea 1-0 in the Community Shield.

He went home, bathed his children, ate dinner with his family, had a shower and prepared milk for baby son Ivan.

It was at this point, just before midnight, that Ly, 37, experienced chest pains.

Hours later, he was paralysed from the chest down. For life.

Last month, Ly, of Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, was told by doctors he had a zero per cent chance of walking again.

Most Read

But the Vodafone store manager has not given up.

He has started alternative therapies including hypnosis and acupuncture, and dreams of defying the medical predictions so that one day he will play football with Ivan, one, and Ryan, two.

Being cared for at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, Ly is still coming to terms with the trauma of the past three months.

The former Highbury Grove School pupil recalled: “There had been no pain at all that day. It was a great day.

“I also went to the FA Cup final in May, when we beat Aston Villa. Afterwards, loads of Villa fans were trying to fight.

“But at the Chelsea game, the sun was shining. Both sets of fans were walking side by side. It was such an enjoyable day.

“When I got the chest pains at home, within 10 minutes I was in A&E.

“At 2am [Monday, August 3] I felt pins and needles in my toes spread all the way to my chest. I had been paralysed in a matter of minutes.

“That was it. I fainted when I looked down at my legs.

“I had no idea it would be so serious. I had experienced chest pains in the past, maybe once a year. But I always came back clear in tests.”

He was operated on at University College Hospital later that day, and told his condition was caused by his spinal chord being compressed by a blood clot.

At this point, he was given a 10 pc chance of walking again.

But when transferred to Stanmore last month, Ly was told it was zero per cent.

“I have two little sons and have to be strong for them – and remember there are people out there in even worse situations than me.

“But it has been so hard to live with.

“I have no control over my bowels or bladder. I no longer play Sunday league football, five-a-side and badminton.

“I used to dream of picking my sons up from school, going to the park for a kickabout, getting a McDonald’s with them and being scolded by the wife when we got home as she had already cooked.

“That’s all gone.”

Ly, who is able to go home to Ivan, Ryan and wife Kelly at weekends, has set up a fundraising page – while unable to work – to help buy equipment he will now need.

He added: “There’s the possibility of going to America for surgery, but for now I have to accept I’ll be in a wheelchair.

“There’s no point pinning my hopes on anything else, as I already did that when told I had a 10 pc chance.

“But I want to get back to work and support my family. You can’t give up.

“I will stay positive, accept the situation for the time being and hope that one day I will prove the doctors wrong.”

To see Ly’s fundraising page, visit