A 21-YEAR-OLD who was unable to walk without crutches for a year following a motorbike accident is hoping to become a paramedic to thank the NHS.

Josh Cheetham, from Winsford, was just 19 when he was thrown from his motorbike whilst on his way to visit his partner.

After a long and painful recovery, he was forced to learn to walk again and faced some serious financial hardship, and now he is eager to give something back to the profession that saved him.

He said: "Once lockdown is lifted, I’m going to hammer the hell out of training to be a paramedic.

"I have been inspired by the amazing paramedics who helped me, and I now want to be able to help others.

"When it comes to the NHS, you can’t say thank you enough.”

The motorbike enthusiast was filtering past single file, slow-moving traffic on the Meremoss roundabout near Crewe on October 12, 2018, when a car pulled out to do a U-turn.

Despite slamming his horn on, Josh and his motorcycle were thrown over the bonnet of the car, and paramedics were on the scene within 45 minutes.

He said: "I remember there was no bruising, no cuts or damage anywhere else but my left leg. The paramedics made it very clear how lucky I was.”

Paramedics gave Josh three doses of morphine for his severe pain and rushed him to Leighton Hospital, where X-ray confirmed that he had suffered a badly broken left leg.

He was given a nerve block and his left leg was manipulated to fit a metal frame cast, before going under a procedure the following day to straighten the leg and make sure there was no lasting discomfort.

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But while Josh's injuries could have been much worse given how serious the crash was, the accident had a severe impact on his life.

He said: “Once I was home, I was lying in bed for weeks. I couldn’t move.”

“I’d say to myself and my mum, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to cope. I can’t walk, I can’t put any pressure on my leg.’

“It took a very long time to have the slightest confidence to even walk to the bathroom.”

Josh’s pain was so severe that he would lie awake at night in agony and the mental trauma weighed him down.

After becoming fearful of travelling again, he sought help from his GP for anxiety and depression.

Josh said: "Every time I stood up, I’d get instantly dizzy and nauseous. My head was like a washing machine. I was 19, but I felt 90."

Josh, who was working as a sales assistant at O2 at the time, also found the financial burden of his accident to be a struggle.

After taking out loans and credit cards to cover his losses, he was left saddled with debts of £11,000 before seeking legal advice from Fletchers Serious Injury, who helped him secure £40,000.

“When the settlement dropped the burden was lifted," said Josh.

"My mum and everyone noticed how different I was. I was happy to do things again and the levels of stress and worry I was experiencing were gone.”

Josh is now back on his feet, back on the road and with big ambitions to become a paramedic, potentially by studying at university and becoming a community first responder.

He added: “What got me through was the thought of one day being ‘normal’. That first night I could sleep on my side was unreal. I slept like a normal person and it was so nice.

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"It’s little baby steps like that, that pushed me on, and love from those around you. Honestly, money doesn’t make you happy, people do.

"Before everything happened, I did take a lot of things granted, such as walking.

“I’m not religious, but I’m still blessed to be here. I have a new lease on life.”