Paralysed terror attack survivor Will Pike, of Highbury, shares incredible recovery story to boost crowdfunder
PUBLISHED: 09:30 12 November 2016
Paralysed in a terror attack? Re-learning how to go to the toilet? Highbury man Will Pike knows how to overcome adversity.
At his lowest point in 2009, Will Pike was measuring his progress by counting the number of times he burst into tears.
On November 26, 2008, he was on holiday in Mumbai when terrorists attacked the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel he was staying in.
Then a fit 28-year-old, Will was paralysed when he fell 60 feet trying to escape. Though fortunate to survive, he was in “complete misery” when he returned home.
Will, of Corsica Street, Highbury, is leading a crowd-funding campaign for the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, where he still receives treatment today.
"My whole waist down was gone. You have to manage your bladder and bowels, learning how to go to the toilet again. Aged 28, nothing can get you used to that"
Now 36, he talks frankly about the attack in which 167 hotel guests were murdered: “My then-girlfriend and I went on holiday to Goa, but we had a one-night stop-over in Mumbai and treated ourselves to a posh hotel.
“We survived by hiding out in our hotel room while the siege unfolded all around us. Eventually, we had to get out. We made a makeshift rope out of curtains and bedding. I went first and it didn’t work. I fell 60 feet.
“My girlfriend thought I was dead. I was bundled into an ambulance and the hospital patched me up but I didn’t know the extent of my injuries. I was barely alive.”
Will, who this year beat testicular cancer, continues: “I was in the Stanmore spinal unit for six months in 2009. I had a complete spinal injury, meaning there’s no return.
“At that point, you’re at square one. You’re measuring progress by how often you cry. It’s complete misery.
“My whole waist down was gone. You have to manage your bladder and bowels, learning how to go to the toilet again. Aged 28, nothing can get you used to that.”
When the Gazette spoke to Will on Thursday, the crowd-funding campaign to build a second spinal unit was at £195,000 – just below the £200,000 minimum ahead of next Friday’s deadline.
There is a two-month waiting list for the current spinal unit, and Will says: “Even though so many aspects of paralysis are really s***, you can’t let it contaminate your life. And that’s the beauty of Stanmore. It empowers you beyond the hospital and helps you live your life.”