Give Captain Armless a Hand

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One life-changing moment for this Gloucester-man could lead to a momentous break-through

At the age of 17, and in a split second, Alex Paterson’s life changed forever.

One moment, Alex was riding his motorbike. The next, he was careering face-first towards a roadside tree, an impact that would almost certainly have killed him.

Having lost control in the split second it took him to nod in the direction of a couple of friends he spotted walking by, Alex saw the tree in time to move his head out of the way. It still wasn’t quickly enough.

Alex’s neck bore the full brunt of the impact. The weight of Alex’s passenger, riding pillion, unintentionally doubled the severity of the collision. It nearly tore a nerve from Alex’s spinal cord, an injury that would almost certainly have killed him. 

With severe spinal injuries, Alex was immediately operated on. After a number of operations, it was decided that Alex’s arm should be amputated.

Alex’s survival with such an injury put him in the lucky 1%. 95% of people would have died. The other 4% would have been left paraplegic.

A split second lapse. A chance to change the future.

Now a father of three and grandfather of five, 56 year old Alex has lived in pain for nearly 40 years. For the scout leader, recognised for his work with Gloucestershire’s Probation Service at the National Justice Awards and as a finalist in the Daily Mirror People’s Awards, and for many other amputees, there is hope. 

Plastic Surgeon Dr Kang, The Royal Free Hospital and Dorset Prosthetics are looking for a guinea pig for cutting-edge pioneering surgery called TMR (Targeted Muscle Innervation) and prosthetic technology that could help thousands of others. Alex fits their criteria perfectly.

The treatment will connect the patient after surgery to a computer using a contact array of pins, where new ‘innervated’ muscles will be taught to communicate with the brain. If successful, stage two of the treatment is to build prosthetics that can sync with the newly active muscle tissue. This would enable the patient to use their prosthetic in the same way able-bodied people use their limbs and therefore prosthetics will react to brain impulses intuitively – and would also reduce or stop completely the debilitating phantom pain many feel after amputation.

The six month rehabilitation treatment, not currently available on the NHS, will cost £6,000 – and Gloucestershire-based charity Superhero Foundation is hoping the community Alex has selflessly served will support both him and the many people whose lives the treatment could change.

“The type of scientific breakthrough you only see once every few decades”

Alex said,

“This pioneering treatment could be the chance I and other amputees have been waiting for to live fuller, happier lives. It’s not just the mobility and function, it’s the chance we might not feel the excruciating phantom pains I’ve been dealing with for the last four decades now. I’ve always been a grin-it-and-bear-it type, but I’ve seen children dealing with lost limbs and it breaks my heart.

“There are a few potential complications that could arise, and as an older man, father and grandfather, I’d sooner be the canary down the mine than a child. If all goes well, this could be the type of scientific breakthrough you only see once every few decades. I’m not typically one to ask for help, but if people could rally around this treatment and donate towards it, they’d make that split second’s lapse worth every minute of pain I’ve felt since.”

The challenge – and leaving his prosthetics behind

Over the next few months we will be completing another challange, we are looking to visit as many on the Prosthetic Centres in the UK as we can over a period of time, whilst riding our Motor Cycles whilst riding with the use of Prosthetics. This will hopefully raise the awarness of the challenges that Amputees have with trying to live their lives with Prosthetics, and how important it is to have quality fittings and sockets that can help and adapt to the ever expanding use of Prosthetics. As you can imagine, the distances involved are huge and this cannot be completed in a single ride, so we will be visting various centres in selected areas onver various weekends during this year.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

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Total donations: £2,584.49






Jake sponsorship


£250.00 (+ £62.50 giftaid)

Josephs mam and dad xx


£20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)

Good luck, Alex!!!




Hi Alex. My efforts towards the cause and sponsorship raised during 3 peaks challenge. Cheers, joe

Polygon Sports and Social Committee



Congratulations Phil!

Karen Owens


£10.00 (+ £2.50 giftaid)

Well done on the 3 peaks challenge everyone n good luck on reaching your target for this great cause



£10.00 (+ £2.50 giftaid)

Well done on completing the challenge and best of luck for the surgery.

Heather and Gav


£50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)

Hi Alex, hope you've managed the Three Peaks Challenge ok, even though the weather has been horrendous. I'm very proud of you bro! Hopefully this will help just a little. xxx

Tom Freeman


£15.00 (+ £3.75 giftaid)

Inspirational courage, and a fantastic effort by the Three Peaks Team!!!


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