Jump to content
Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Afet

Messages for Martine Wright

Recommended Posts

Just want to say that Martine is one of my closest friends and I came across this site by chance. I will make sure she logs on and sees all these messages... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That'll be great if you could, Sarah! :) Send lots of love from us too, won't you?

Welcome to the forum, by the way! :D

Lizzie :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh Wow, Sarah, that is excellent news! :D

I can't tell you how defeated I felt when I ended up walking around and looking for Martine AT THE WRONG HOSPITAL! <_< Which, I have to say, wasn't entirely my fault.

I am so happy to hear that Martine will get to read the messages straight from the hearts of these fantastic members on this site.

I hope she'll feel up to joining us on here one day too. :)

Please give her our love and best wishes. And thank you ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh Wow, Sarah, that is excellent news! :D

I can't tell you how defeated I felt when I ended up walking around and looking for Martine AT THE WRONG HOSPITAL! <_< Which, I have to say, wasn't entirely my fault.

I am so happy to hear that Martine will get to read the messages straight from the hearts of these fantastic members on this site.

I hope she'll feel up to joining us on here one day too. :)

Please give her our love and best wishes. And thank you ;)

WILL BE SPEAKING WITH HER LATER TONIGHT...SHE'S KNOWS ABOUT THIS SITE...AND IS LOOKING FORWARD TO SPEAKING WITH YOU ALL...

She is a true inspiration and am really proud she's my mate!

x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't visited the site in ages, but I read the article in the Sunday Times today and it reminded me of here. It's great to see you guys all supporting Martine, and Martine, if you are here, you'll find a bunch of people who'll support you all the way!

Non-amp as I am, I don't feel I have a clue about what you've gone through. I'll just say I finished the article today and then asked myself "what am I whinging about?". It's great to see you coming out the other side and rising up to take life by the horns. Best of luck!

Colm

PS My regards to Bill and Ben. They looked well in the paper (very space-agey!), and I hope they don't give you any trouble!

PPS Just trainers for the rest of your life!? You talk to the ladies here, they'll set you straight!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Colm,

After reading your post, I went looking for that article. Here it is:

-------------------

It could have been you, but it was me

She was late, it wasn’t her usual Tube train, then her world was blown apart by the 7/7 bombs. Martine Wright tells Deirdre Fernand how she stays cheerful

Young, fit and energetic, Martine Wright was never one to sit on life’s sidelines. The 32-year-old marketing manager liked to be in the thick of things, packing in new adventures: bungee jumping in New Zealand, helicoptering over the Grand Canyon and climbing Ayers Rock in Australia. “I was always running around everywhere”, she remembers. “Busy all the time.” One Christmas she worked so hard to prepare the perfect family celebration, throwing herself into such a frenzy of shopping and cooking, that her sister sent her a card bearing the words: “Thanks for being the kitchen slave.”

Her life, though utterly changed, is now no less busy. Tomorrow she will start a three-day assessment, including altitude and aptitude tests, at a flying school in Lincolnshire. If chosen she will spend six weeks in South Africa training as a pilot. The fact that Wright lost both legs above the knee in the London bombings of July 7 2005 does not deter her in the slightest.

“There will never be a time when I can escape from what happened physically and emotionally”, she says. “I have lost my legs and they are not going to come back. There isn’t a day when I don’t ask, ‘Why me?’ I was an ordinary Londoner going to work that day. Then I think: I’m still here, I’m not brain-damaged and I’m still Martine. And in many ways I have been given a new lease of life. It’s an exciting time.”

It is profoundly moving to hear her talk about her “exciting life”, when so much of her old action-packed existence remains around her. Holiday photographs, for instance, show her smiling and pretty in a turquoise bikini on holiday in Greece; another posing with friends in front of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. All evidence of a young woman’s life interrupted; plans abandoned and hopes dashed. Her past, she says, now seems an enchanted place.

But what of the future? The events of July 7 dealt her a life of uncertainties. Will she ever walk without sticks? When will she be able to dress herself? Will she ever have a baby? Such are the questions that trouble her daily, preventing her from sleeping. Despite such doubts, she remains uncowed by her new circumstances.

“I have a hard time ahead. I have to think, well, that was my old life and now this is my new. I am overwhelmed by what I have been through. This has opened my eyes to what can happen and also to what can be achieved. I think that greater things are going to come out of this.”

Her remarkable determination will be revealed in an ITV documentary tomorrow night charting her rehabilitation. Viewers will indeed see her grasp of greater things. She is shown using all her strength to hoist herself out of her wheelchair as doctors and physiotherapists look on. Losing her legs above the knee means she has no leverage: “It’s about six times harder for me to walk than a normal person. And you should see my biceps.” Every day brings new labours; every day a personal best. Her specialists believe that her fitness before the July carnage has helped her recovery.

She is living, for the foreseeable future, with her mother in north London, imprisoned in a suburban bungalow that she cannot leave without help. At her side are two heavy artificial legs. “I wish I could show you my walking now,” she says. A recent hamstring injury, however, is preventing her from wearing them all day and taking steps at the moment is particularly painful. She hates not making progress.

Wright only left the Douglas Bader unit at Queen Mary’s hospital, Roehampton in southwest London on March 31, after nine months in hospital — one of the last of the bomb victims to be discharged. She has endured 10 operations, including skin grafts, and still faces another two on her damaged left arm. “When I did leave all the photographers were camped outside so I had to use a back exit. I felt like Posh and Becks.”

Her lack of self-pity allows her to disguise her difficulties with a veil of humour. She never liked being short, she says, a mere 5ft 2in. “But with my new legs I am 5ft 4½in and I tower over some of the nurses.” She is thinking of naming her prosthetics, which she sees as her two new best friends, Bill and Ben. She sees a counsellor every week and keeps a diary, recording her good and bad days. The act of writing lends meaning to her daily struggle. “I have to think that this happened to me for a reason,” she says. “I have to think that it can’t be by chance.”

It was, however, pure chance that Wright happened to be in the same Circle Line carriage as Shehzad Tanweer when he blew himself up at 10 minutes to nine in the tunnels outside Aldgate station. She had been sitting just 3ft away from him.

In her head she replays the image of her jumping into the carriage of a train she did not usually take. She was late that morning, having gone to a party the night before. And then the blast. “I don’t think anyone can imagine what it was like unless you were down there. Nothing resembled a Tube,” she says, describing the explosion as a “white noise”.

“I felt like a character in a cartoon who is swept up and bashed from side to side. Then it was the smells, the blackness of the whole carriage. There were screams for help and then it was knowing that my legs were caught and I couldn’t get out.

“I always remember that I had bought a new pair of trainers a couple of days before. On top of all the metal was one of them with blood all over it. All I kept thinking was: why is my trainer up there when my legs are down here? As she lay drifting in and out of consciousness, a woman with long blonde hair that she calls her guardian angel bound one of her legs with a belt, staunching the bleeding and thus saving her life. “I truly believe I had a guardian angel that day looking after me and protecting me. You know I was lucky, I just don’t think I was that lucky.”

Wright was the last survivor to be pulled from the carriage. By the time she had arrived at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel she had lost 75% of her blood. She had also fractured her skull.

For almost 48 hours her family, including her parents and two siblings, searched London hospitals for her. When they found her lying unconscious, her body had swollen beyond recognition. “Only my mum was able to recognise me from the shape of my eyebrows.”

When, some weeks later, Wright read her medical records she found that, as the eighth unidentified victim to be admitted, doctors had simply labelled her “Hotel Unknown”, Alpha being the first. She also discovered that the explosion had left someone’s foot embedded in her left leg. She remained unconscious for nearly a week. When she awoke, it was a nurse who broke the news to her that her legs had been amputated.

“It was the middle of the night and a nurse was stroking my hair. He said, ‘Martine, there’s something I need to tell you. You’ve lost both your legs. They were damaged and we needed to take them away.’ I remember crying but it didn’t sink in. I could look down and see they were gone but I couldn’t get my head round it. I saw my family the next day and they confirmed it. So I didn’t realise on the Tube that I wasn’t going to have any legs, I just thought they were going to get me out, I’d be injured and that would be it.”

Wright’s courage in the face of horrific injuries astonished doctors at the Royal London. As she lay recovering, her surgeon Hasu Patel was due to meet the Queen who was visiting the hospital that day. Instead Patel performed emergency surgery, sending a message to the royal entourage: “Sorry. Can’t meet the Queen. We’re saving Martine Wright’s arm.”

As well as dealing with her own disabilities, Wright has become one of the most vociferous critics of the government’s compensation policy towards the 7/7 victims. She has been offered just £55,000 for each of the limbs she lost, a sum that will never cover her expenses. She believes that she received her computerised, high-tech prosthetics, costing £20,000, only because she was high profile. “I know I have the best legs on the market,” she says. “But many amputees are struggling without them.”

Before the tragedy, she was earning £40,000 a year as a marketing executive in central London and living in a one-bed flat in Crouch End with a mortgage of £116,000. Now she needs at least £300,000 to buy a bungalow near her family in north London so they can look after her. Not only does she need an adapted house, she will also need a hands-only car and a lightweight wheelchair. The bills seem endless.

“I am living with my 68-year-old mum who is now having to sleep on a sofa bed in her own house and look after me. I don’t think I’m a good bet for a building society, am I?” She would love to return to her office in due course but cannot predict when, or how she will get there. “I can’t go back on the Tube or a train. I can’t even see the Underground sign on television without flinching,” she says. “I am quite scared and apprehensive. I can’t look at any footage of that day. I am proud to be a Londoner and a cockney, born within sound of Bow bells, but I will have to move out of London.”

She believes that the sums being offered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority are derisory and has urged the government to remove the current limit of £500,000. She has also called for a public inquiry into the events of July 7 and for a specific fund for victims of terrorism. “My anger is more against the government than the bomber because of the slowness of compensation. I think it has been one long PR exercise, saying they will remove the compensation ceiling. Still many people are waiting. Do they think we (the victims) are stupid?”

She says she can feel nothing for the bomber who nearly robbed her of her life. “I don’t feel huge anger and rage. And I don’t forgive. I don’t even understand my feelings, but maybe in six months’ time I will.”

Tears prick her eyes. She is not crying for herself, but for the suffering of her family and her boyfriend, Nick. “I will be at home, cooking sausages and mash, and then a wave of reality will overwhelm me, the facts of what happened to me and my family. It’s huge what they’ve all been through.

“I would give all the money in the world to have my legs back — even for one day,” she says. “I look at people walking around and I can’t remember what it feels like to wiggle your toes.”

She describes her situation as “surreal”, seesawing between highs and lows. “I don’t take medicine, but when I’m down I think, I’m still the same person, the essence is the same. I go into a room and cry for a bit. I just want to be able to walk out of here and go down the road.”

In fact she has been out by herself only once in the past nine months when her mum put her into a taxi so she could have lunch with her boss. “I’m a 33-year-old woman who is used to being independent. That’s hard, that’s suffocating.”

A few months ago she plucked up courage to go back to her old first-floor flat, her father and brother carrying her up the stairs. There could have been no starker illustration of her loss than to see the bedroom she had left so hurriedly that July morning, her clothes and shoes strewn about.

The day before, knowing she was to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding, she had gone shopping for smart shoes and had found some glitzy silver ones at Next in Oxford Street. “I saw them and then I utterly lost it,” she says, becoming distressed again. “I love shopping and clothes. I’m a flip-flop and Birkenstock person. Now I will only ever wear trainers again.”

It is a temporary wobble and she soon regains her composure. She is feeling some trepidation about her coming interview for a Douglas Bader flying scholarship, named after the fighter pilot who lost his legs in an accident but continued to fly.

When Martine Wright falls asleep, she always imagines herself whole again in her dreams, walking in fields and climbing hills. She also dreams she is flying: “Who’s to say I can’t do more? Get me on a plane.”

Martine Wright will be on Tonight with Trevor McDonald on ITV1 at 8pm tomorrow night

Readers wishing to help Martine can contact deirdre.fernand@sunday-times.co.uk

Taken from this page of the timesonline website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I missed this whole thread!

Martine,

After reading your story I have to say you're one special lady! You're going to inspire so many people in your life! Hugs to you.

Thanks Afet for posting the article.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Martine,

I realise that I haven't left you a message yet. After all, the plan was that I would've got to tell you my thoughts when I met you. But that hasn't happened .. yet!

I want to tell you how much I admire and respect you. You have been through unimaginable things (sheer hell) that most people will never have to go through in their lives.. if they're lucky.

The fact that you survived is a testament to the strength that has always been within you. That strength is what pushes you now to get on with your life, when it's all too easy to give up.

I hope you can join us here one day. This forum is amazing and the people found here are exceptional. People here, including myself, can understand some of the things you are now going through. (Don't even get me started on the whole shoe thing <_< )

And, who knows, maybe one day we WILL get to meet. I'm a Londoner too, and would love to come meet you. :)

Best Wishes,

Afet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The human spirit always amazes me. I wish I could see the program -- not likely here in the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm at a meeting tonight, but I shall try to sneak off as early as possible to watch this fantastic lady

PJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Martine

Watched the programme tonight and think you are doing brilliantly.

Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Martine,

The progress you have made so far is amazing.

Maggie was my physio when I was there and I also had John as my pros. My current pros is Lawrence so you are in very good hands as you are undoubtedly aware.

Take care

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Afet,

Sorry just read the other thread regarding Martine, just wanted to add this.

Tell Martine, she is in the best place possible to get her walking again. I thought the facilities at Roehampton were excellent, a good team of people and a friendly atomosphere.

I also started walking on the "rocker" type legs, they were very good to get started on. I am sure she realizes, that these are just to get her started, and the limbs will improve. I used to use the "rockers" with crutches, but went back to school on these, they actually made me pretty mobile, whilst my stumps were recovering from skin grafting.

There is a chap I know, who is a bilateral a/k, who lives in the Roehampton area and gets his limbs there, she may have already met him, he is doing really well, I think wearing C legs, I'll send him an email.

Ann

Your right that chap is me .....Steve McNeice ..........i have two c-legs and as a consequence i do know and have helped both Martine Wright also Danny Biddle (another amputee from the bombing who lost one through knee and one above knee and has also lost an eye ....he is still at Roehampton and is still rehab'ing) with a few tips on walking, mobility and general motivation - i think they will both do well they just have to keep at it.

it is good they both keep getting press coverage as it raising the profile of amputation everywhere ...

Any other double AK's please get in touch ...a very difficult amputation level and we need to supoort you guys and girls ...need a hand or want some tips .... email me as i walk everywhere as a double above knee amputee ... steve@c-legs.co.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Martine

I just wanted to say want an inspiration you are not only to fellow amputees but to everyone. You have shown nothing but courage and determination in your quest to deal with the things you have been forced to deal with and i have nothing but the upmost respect for you.

Lisa xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martine,

I wanted to add my thoughts in here as well. I thank you for sharing your story with everyone. You didn't have to but I know it is helping people around the world.

Good luck with all of your future endeavors. I know you will be successful at all that you try.

Take care.

Carol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your right that chap is me .....Steve McNeice ..........i have two c-legs and as a consequence i do know and have helped both Martine Wright also Danny Biddle (another amputee from the bombing who lost one through knee and one above knee and has also lost an eye ....he is still at Roehampton and is still rehab'ing) with a few tips on walking, mobility and general motivation - i think they will both do well they just have to keep at it.

it is good they both keep getting press coverage as it raising the profile of amputation everywhere ...

Any other double AK's please get in touch ...a very difficult amputation level and we need to supoort you guys and girls ...need a hand or want some tips .... email me as i walk everywhere as a double above knee amputee ... steve@c-legs.co.uk

Just to say, welcome to the forum, Steve! :)

I'm AK & BK at the moment...but I may just need your advice in a few years time! :)

Lizzie :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×