Corby man paralysed by stroke, who 'died three times', to benefit from pals' ice bin challenges

Friends of Kyle Hughes are raising money for intensive rehabilitation to help him walk

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 9:06 am

A Corby man paralysed by a life-threatening brain cyst and a stroke, resuscitated three times - twice by his mum - is at the centre of a new fundraising campaign - the Ice Bin Challenge.

Kyle Hughes, 33, was a fit and healthy football-playing gym fanatic and Thai boxer, with a job working on gas pipelines, when a brain cyst triggered a series of medical crises eventually leaving him confined to a wheelchair, unable to eat, talk or walk.

To help him fulfil his promise to himself that he will walk again, his friends have issued a minute-long challenge of sitting in a wheelie bin brim full of icy cold water to fundraise for an intensive course of rehabilitation.

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Kyle using his frame with inset Jason (left) and Gary (right)

Personal trainers Jason Strachan and Gary McQuade have set themselves a 21-day long Ice Bin Challenge to raise the £30,000 needed to help their friend walk again.

Jason, 43 said: "Kyle is such an inspiration. He has got it in him to walk again, he is working so hard. Just seeing what he can do now - he does pull-ups and push ups.

"I have been working with him. The guy's an inspiration. He's kind of given up a little but I told him you need to inspire people with your journey.

"Two years ago he couldn't feed himself or talk. He's taken an extra step with his determination to get his life back."

Gary, Kyle and Jason

It was in 2015, when Kyle first started noticing changes to his eyesight and then he started to limp and finally developed 'crushing' headaches.

After several visits to the GP a referral to hospital revealed a non-malignant growth 'cavernoma' - a cluster of abnormal blood vessels - in the brain stem at the top of his spinal column.

Radiotherapy was scheduled but the life-threatening growth had grown causing Kyle to collapse.

His family were told that he had to have life-saving surgery but the operation gave Kyle a slim chance of survival.

Jason and Kyle

Mum Carollynne, who is also his carer alongside Jason's mum, said: "He was just so ill. He was given a ten per cent chance of making it through the operation. He had a stroke on the operating table and was in a coma for four weeks. They had to give him a tracheostomy which causes him problems now.

"He was really healthy and fit and had a job as a gas man. Then he was vegetating. He couldn't eat or talk or walk. The brain specialist said that there was nothing they could do for him."

After four years being in his wheelchair, Kyle was encouraged to get active but he faced a massive set back.

In 2019, Carollynne, a trained first aider, had to save Kyle's life when she found him collapsed and unresponsive.

Kyle and his beloved dog Buddy

She said: "We were sitting on the sofa and I went out of the room for a short while and he was dead. I had to revive him and give him the kiss of life, and then he went again as the paramedics arrived and they had to do it too. He died three times. He went to hospital with a collapsed lung, a clot on his lung, sepsis and double pneumonia.

"They put him in a side ward to die but he put up a fight for life. Even the doctors have said that he's like a cat with nine lives. He was so ill for a while."

Kyle has been determined to get better with his family paying for a private two-week stay in a rehabilitation unit in Daventry.

He has been pushing himself with a punishing training schedule helped by Jason. Despite not having any feeling in his right side, he has been keeping a keep fit regime of press-ups and squats.

Friends have constructed a set of walking rails in his back garden so he can reach his goal of walking again.

Kyle said: "I have got the chance to go to the rehab centre. I can't believe the support that I have had from the people in the town. I've got no words to describe what everyone is doing for me. I won't let them down and I won't give in.

Gary keeping his cool during one of his 21 Ice Bin Challenges

"I am determined that I will walk again."

The Ice Bin Challenge has seen people from across Corby joining in by filling their bins with icy water and staying in for a minute, including members of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Donations on the Crowdfunding page have topped £9,988 - nearly a third of the way to the target set by Jason and Gary.

Gary said: "We've had some great donations and we want people to share their Ice Bin Challenges with the hashtags #IceBinChallenge and #letsgetkylewalking.

"He's a great mate and the strength he's got, physically and mentally, is incredible. The percentage of people who can do a pull up is very small but for him to do it is amazing.

"It's also creating a feelgood factor and community feeling and we want his story to reach far and wide to raise the money."

The 21-day challenge finishes at the end of the month with ten new people tagged each day to take part. Those who complete the challenge get to tag five others - people can also choose to donate rather than take the plunge.

The money will allow him to stay for three months of intensive rehabilitation at a facility abroad.

Carollynne added: "The people of Corby are just amazing. People have held raffles and businesses have donated and Jason and Gary have been phenomenal - they spur him on.

"I am so, so proud of Kyle. If he says he's going to walk again, he'll walk again."

To donate to Kyle's Ice Bin Challenge fundraiser click here.

Jason takes the plunge