This book is a way of raising the profile of amputees, continuing the legacy of the Paralympics by giving hope and inspiration for the future, spreading the message that everyone can overcome anything with enough determination.
Ray was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease at the age of 27, which left him with reduced immunity and potentially infertile, but happy to be alive. Five years later, back working as a builder and the father of twins, he cut his hand unblocking a drain. This led to kidney failure, septicaemia and the eventual removal of his arms and legs. Life as a quad amputee seemed bleak and overwhelming. His family were supportive but no one could possibly understand how he felt. This is the story of his struggle to cope with all that life has thrown at him, including his attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This book is a way of raising the profile of amputees, continuing the legacy of the Paralympics by giving hope and inspiration for the future, spreading the message that everyone can overcome anything with enough determination.
Ray Edwards MBE was born in 1954 near London. He had a relatively ordinary life: the eldest son of a builder, he followed his father to work for the family company and thought life was good until at 27 years old he found out he had cancer. He had treatment, including an operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which was successful, the only downfall being he could not father children, or so he was told. This was proved to be untrue, as Ray then went on to father twins, much to the delight of both Ray and his wife. It was while back at work, when the twins were under a year old, that Ray cut his hand. Within 24 hours life had changed for Ray, who developed septicaemia. To save his life, both arms and both legs had to be amputated. He was also on a kidney dialysis machine. Ray went through many lows in his struggle to get back to be the person he was, including the breakdown of his first marriage. It was while he was trying to get his life back together that he had a vision of helping others in his position: amputees and limb impaired. He also married someone he calls his angel who helped him come to term with his disability. Ray also has three more children. Ray has worked with several charities in pursuit of helping amputees and was awarded the MBE for his services. He is now the chairman of Limbcare, a charity supporting amputees and limb impaired of all ages. He is also an inspirational speaker, travelling the country inspiring everyone. This book was written not only to give people inspiration, whatever their circumstances, to get the most out of life, but also to support Limbcare. Ray is already beginning to write his second book about the journey Limbcare is on and his recent adventures in the promotion of Limbcare, including his appearance on television.
I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to meet Ray Edwards and his team to listen to their stories. Ray made me want to cry and laugh at the same time. His story is amazing and he is inspirational. He gave me a real insight into the immense difficulties faced by amputees, but also the amazing things they can and do achieve (trust me when I say I could never climb Mount Kilimanjaro!).