Alison mounts cycle challenge for sepsis awareness

Alison Jones with son Harris cycling for Sepsis awareness.

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Coll mum Alison Jones is cycling 300 miles on the island’s roads for sepsis awareness.

Alison is raising funds for the UK Sepsis Trust and is inviting friends and tourists to join her for some of it.

At just 13 miles long and three miles wide, Alison admits she has been going ‘up and down’ quite a bit.

Her six-year-old son Harris has also got on his bike to support her as she puts pedal-power behind a campaign to make people more sepsis-savvy.

Alison Jones with friend and Sepsis survivor Helen Cheyne

Time is critical when it comes to recognising sepsis, sometimes known as blood-poisoning or septicemia, so Alison wanted to do her bit to make sure people know the signs to look out for – especially when living on such a small island so far away from emergency help.

‘With time being critical with sepsis, being aware of the symptoms for adults and children, or just asking the question, ‘could it be sepsis?’ could save a life, particularly when we’re so far away from specialist services,’ she said.

Alison started her Cycle4Sepsis challenge last month and has raisied about £800 so far and hopes to complete it by September 30.

As well as all her leg-work notching up the miles, she also wanted to share her close friend Helen Cheyne’s story.

In April 2019, former nurse and midwife Helen, who was living in Glasgow, thought she had mild flu but about 48 hours later was phoning her sons from her hospital bed  about to be put on a ventilator knowing she might not survive.

Despite being a healthy and fit 60-year-old, Helen’s vital organs were failing because of sepsis.

When she left hospital months later, she had undergone a below-the-knee amputation and major surgery had been carried out on her hands – including reducing the length of most of her fingers.

‘Helen still lives in her second storey flat and uses prosthetic legs to get around. Last year she cycled for sepsis awareness as I am doing this year.

‘She is back driving in an adapted car and continues to work as a professor of midwifery. She is an inspiration to many,’ said Alison.

‘Helen gave us all a huge shock when it happened. She was a health professional and even she did not spot the signs of sepsis – we can all take that as a big warning sign that more people need to be aware and to ask the question, ‘could it be sepsis?” Alison added.

Helen is also now a trustee of The UK Sepsis Trust, still has a personal trainer and hopes to get back to hillwalking one day.

Those who have joined Alison on her fundraising bike rides already include a fellow  islander whose young adult son was admitted to hospital critically ill with sepsis – he  did make a recovery.

Sepsis  happens when an infection you already have triggers an overwhelming chain reaction throughout your body.

It is linked to one in five deaths worldwide and kills more than 48,000 people in the UK every year. That is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined.

Signs and symptoms of sepsis can include a combination of any of these: confusion or disorientation, slurred speech, shortness of breath, high heart rate, fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold, extreme pain or discomfort, and clammy or sweaty skin.

You can find out more by going to https://sepsistrust.org/

Alison’s justgiving page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/al-jones76