A Lincoln man who was in a coma after a bad car crash nearly six years ago will push himself to the limit with a strongman challenge to raise money for a special wheelchair to improve the life of a local teenager.
Craig Collins, 38, suffered a brain injury and was in a coma for several weeks, and then in a wheelchair for three years, after a crash on the A1 near Peterborough in September 2015. He was in the car with his ex partner when one of the wheels locked up and the vehicle slid into the central reservation before flipping and ejecting Craig from it.
The father-of-three told The Lincolnite that he was 19 stone before being in the coma and when he woke up he was 12 stone. He suffered a brain injury, a broken arm, leg, ankle and knee cap, as well as needing a reconstructed pelvis and his hips needed bolted together as they had shattered.
He doesn’t remember anything about the accident or the week before other than what people have told him. Craig was also told at the time he wouldn’t walk again and was in a dark place for a long time, but with the help of his strong mind, support of family and friends, and later the gym, he beat the odds.
He now feels stronger than ever and now weighs 20 stone, and he is determined to make a difference to the life of 17-year-old Eloise Needham.
Eloise has epilepsy caused by a rare disorder called Coritcal Dysplasia and her mother Caroline is currently fundraising to get her a better wheelchair – the Trikinetic GTE Mark II – to improve her quality of life, but it costs over £5,000. She has so far raised over £3,600.
After hearing about her story in The Lincolnite, Craig is determined to push himself to the limit to help the teenager and wants to raise at least £3,000 for her – you can make a donation here. The names of everyone who has donated will be written down in a book to give Ellie and Caroline personally on the day.
Craig has created a fundraising event, which will take place at Flying Hire Ltd in North Scarle near Lincoln at 11.30am on July 10.
Craig will pull three arctic lorries of 15, 23 and 40 tonnes, with the latter two the heaviest he’s ever pulled. Fellow strongman Dave Johnson and others will take part in the charity challenge for other charities and there will also be time trial competitions. Dave said he has got around 20 men and four women entered into the event, which he will be doing in memory of his friend Mark Browne for the 10th successive year.
The public are welcome to attend, subject to government restrictions. As well as the strongman challenges, there will also be face painting, bouncy castle, and a food van.
Craig told The Lincolnite: “I was waiting to find the right charity for a strongman challenge. I was reading through The Lincolnite and saw the article about Eloise and thought it would be perfect, as well as it being personal to me as I understand the struggles with a wheelchair.
“As a dad I also wanted to step in to help another parent. It may be more difficult doing the challenge (to how it was when I did them before), but I’ve got to train harder. My strength has built up and I am stronger than I was before the accident and my walking is okay over short distances.
“I am restricted with what I can do, but try to do the best I can and can’t wait to get stuck in. The motivation of doing this for Eloise will push me further. I am hoping there will also be some funds left over at the end to help Eloise and Caroline have a break away.”
Katie added: “We are confident we can raise the money for them. Doing this for Eloise will make it more special and we can’t wait to meet her and Caroline for the first time in person on the day.
“I am a bit worried about Craig pushing himself to the limit, but I know he can do it and it will be an amazing day.”
Caroline said she cried happy tears when she spoke with the couple and was totally humbled, while she described Craig as a selfless good man.
She said: “We are really grateful for Craig and Katie’s support and look forward to meeting them on the day. My fundraiser has also gone beyond what I expected and we would like to thank everyone for help.”
This is not the first time Craig has done a strongman challenge for a good cause as he previously raised money for charity doing a 200 kilo tractor tyre flipping, lorry and double decker pulls, and pulling a fire engine at the St Marks Shopping Centre in Lincoln.