When Alex Parker fell from the roof of a house, fracturing his back and badly injuring two discs in his neck, it would have been reasonable to assume that, at the very least, his days of sporting adventures were over.
But the lifelong sports fan is now back to full fitness and preparing to walk to the North Pole to raise £250,000 for charity. This follows a successful climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro last year as well as a London to Paris cycle ride!
And, as he completed another gruelling training session in preparation for his icy adventure, Alex,talked of Birmingham-based neurosurgeon Andre Jackowski, whose skill and expertise he says “made everything possible”.
Alex, managing director of Leicester Company AMP Electrical Distributors, lost his memory in the accident and can remember little about the fall, which happened two years ago. When he came out of hospital after treatment for his neck injury and fractured back he was forced to take painkillers on an almost constant basis.
Then, while on a recuperation holiday cruise to Miami, Alex, who was coverd by Private Medical Insurance, found himself in excruciating pain and unable to move his arms as fragments of the discs that had been injured during the fall pressed on his spinal cord.
He spent the entire cruise under sedation and, on his return home, began his search for an operation that could end his agony and give him back the full use of his arms.
That is when he met Consultant Neurosurgeon Andre Jackowski at BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham. Recently named in The Times Top Fifty British surgeons list, Mr Jackowski is one of the few people in Britain to carry out the procedure of anterolateral foraminotomy - a microsurgical procedure where the surgeon enters through the front of the neck to reach the damaged area at the back.
This meant he could remove the trapped fragments while preserving the remaining discs thereby avoiding a painful bone graft or the need for artificial disc implants.