A former PE teacher who dreamed of spending his retirement skiing, golfing and walking, has been paralysed in a horrific cycling accident.
Mike McKeon was thrown off his bike in a horror smash on a descent to Ribchester in Lancashire back in March.
The 68-year-old said he believes something stopped his bike while going at 40mph downhill and flipped him over the top, breaking a bone in his neck.
He then spent a month in Royal Preston Hospital and four months in rehab at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital's spinal unit, the Manchester evening News .
Now paralysed from the chest down, Mike said his life has been "completely thrown upside down" and "the hardest thing is acceptance".
Mike, from Rishton, near Blackburn, in Lancashire, said: "My head was sort of pushed down into my chest. I broke my nose, I had black eyes, I had broken ribs. Then the force of landing on the road on my back caused the major injury.
"You spent a huge amount of time at the beginning going through the things that you've lost and thinking very dark thoughts with huge amounts of regret.
"I loved playing golf, going skiing with my wife a couple of times a year, we played tennis and did ballroom dancing and we'd go walking in the Lakes and the Dales.
"We were very, very active and I was looking forward to spending the rest of my retirement doing these things. So it's incredibly hard to accept that I can't do all of these things now.
"We want to see more of our grandchildren but they live in Edinburgh and unfortunately I don't think I'll ever be able to get back into their house again because of the number of steps.
"It's real cause of real sadness to me that I won't be able to do all these things anymore.
"It's not just me who's had my life changed and completely thrown upside down – my wife's life now is completely different to what we had before the accident. She's my main carer.
"It's a bit like grieving – you've lost something so important, you've lost the life that you led. And the life that you lead, you don't realise how good it was until it's been taken away from you.
"I miss everything I used to be able to do. The first time some golf friends came to visit me in the hospital they went away thinking 'Mike was in really good form and like himself'.
Mike said he had been out for a couple of hours on a familiar route with a cycling pal when the accident happened at about 10am on March 28.
His friend had gone out ahead but when he became aware of cars stopping behind him he retraced his steps to find Mike in and out of consciousness on the road.
Mike said: "It would have been literally minutes between him leaving me and finding me again.
"I was aware of incredible pain and vaguely aware of people around me saying 'don't move' but that could have been half an hour or ten seconds after the accident, I have no idea."
He added: "We've resumed ballroom dancing – my wife dances obviously and I'm head judge now. I enjoy watching them dance and the music and talking with my friends.
"I am a determined person who is doing all I can to make the most of what is a new life – I want to go skiing again for example and resume travelling. "
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