A TRIATHLETE who has been airlifted twice after being seriously injured in two bike crashes is holding a triathlon event at the start of May to support the charity who came to her aid.
Samantha Sugden from Penrith was on a social bike ride with friends near Keswick when she hit a sinkhole, causing her to be thrown from her bike in August 2017.
She sustained injuries to her brain and skull, fractured ribs, a lacerated spleen and an arterial bleed.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew to the scene and assessed and treated Samantha before airlifting her to the Royal Preston Hospital for further treatment.
It took the mother-of-two six months to recover from the incident, and she successfully swam the full length of Ullswater in aid of GNAAS and raised around £1,000 for the charity.
However, less than three weeks later, Samantha was unlucky enough to require the services of GNAAS again, when, on 10 October 2018, she was cycling down Kirkstone Pass, near Ambleside, and was involved in a collision with a bus.
After being assessed and treated by the paramedic and doctor team from GNAAS, she was flown to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, where she spent seven days recovering.
She said: “I remember everything from this time around, and I knew I’d broken my collarbone but I thought I was alright. I didn’t realise I’d totally annihilated my spleen and I ended up having life-saving surgery to remove it. I was in a bad way but I am really lucky to still be here.”
Since 2018 Samantha has competed in the Pontevedra ITU Duathlon World Championships and was the tenth woman to cross the line in her age group.
She also successfully held a triathlon event last year and is now hosting it for the second time on Monday 2 May at Lazonby Outdoor Swimming Pool to raise money for GNAAS.
She said: “I have decided to hold another Go Tri after the success of last year’s to raise money and awareness for GNAAS because it combines the two things I am passionate about and they have saved my life, not once but twice.
“I wouldn’t be here without their help, as is the case for many people in the area, who without their quick service there would be much more severe consequences due to the rural areas we live in.
“I am unbelievably lucky but with trauma comes some complications, which for me is helped with exercise. Go Tri is a great way to help people get out there, in the fresh air, helping physical and mental health, and above all it’s fun.”
The event caters for both adults and children and entry prices range from £5 to £20.
For further information and to sign up visit: https://www.gotri.org/events/go-tri-lazonby-charity—in-aid-of-the-great-north-air-ambulance_13641