A woman who spent 18 days in hospital after a horror crash near Kettering has thanked the air ambulance for saving her life.
Letitia Hayward, from Loddington, was cycling just a few hundred yards from her home in October last year when an oncoming bus, which was overtaking parked cars, collided with her.
She landed just centimetres from one of the wheels of the bus and suffered a severed artery, dislocated knee, ligament damage, deep wound, a broken finger and bad bruises.
She was flown to University Hospital Coventry by the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance but, while Letitia has no recollection of the flight, she is ‘eternally grateful’ for service’s help.
She said: “I owe my right leg, if not my life to the helicopter getting me to hospital so quickly.
“I am eternally grateful that I was flown to the specialist treatment I needed as, I believe, the outcome of my accident could have been very different if I had not been.
“All the doctors I spoke to told me that my injuries were very serious and for a time they were concerned I might lose my leg.”
Letitia was initially in hospital for 18 days and underwent a vein graft to repair the severed artery behind her knee, plastic surgery on her ankle and had a metalwork frame put around her knee.
Her recovery was long and slow, including more than three months wearing a leg brace and a total of seven operations including surgery on her hand twice, keyhole surgery in her knee and ligament reconstruction.
She said: “It has been a long journey.
“I had a whole year when I was at a hospital or doctors appointment every week but I still have a leg and my life is pretty much back to normal now.”
Every time she sees or hears air ambulance flying above her, she thinks of what might have been had it not come to her rescue.
Now she is urging local people to support Air Ambulance Week from September 8 to 16.
She said: “It is a charity that benefits everybody and is always there when needed.
“I had supported it before my accident but now I am an uber supporter.”
She is a community volunteer in Northamptonshire and hopes to be able to use her previous work experience as a charity worker to help raise the profile of WNAA and do more fundraising.
The fundraising initiative is crucial to the continued existence of the local air ambulance service which is a charity and receives no government funding.
Each lifesaving mission they fly costs £1,700.
To find out more about Air Ambulance Week visit https://theairambulanceservice.org.uk/give-an-hour.