Ray Edwards was born in 1954 in Staines, United Kingdom. He was fully able bodied, and the son of a Builder. He had a pretty normal upbringing. He wasn’t academically minded and instead trained in the building trade like his father, and went to work in it.
Ray married at age 24. After buying his first house with his wife, he was exposed to dry rot spray when he was renovating the house in 1980. Several months later he developed cancer of the Lymph Glands (Hodgkins Disease).
Ray had his Spleen removed and underwent Chemo and Radiotherapy. He got the all clear in 1981. Because he had lost his Spleen however, his immune system would be weakened.
He was told he wouldn’t be able to have children due to the cancer treatment. Some sperm had been frozen, and he and his wife commenced IVF.
In 1986, (conceived naturally after IVF hadn’t worked), Ray was the proud Dad of twins, a boy and a girl. However, 9 months later, in late Feb 1987 he contracted Septicaemia after cutting his hand on a manhole cover he was working on in Addlestone. Due to poisons from the infection, which spread to his four limbs, all four had to be amputated on Friday 13th March 1987. The attached draft eBook cover shows Ray several months after the amputations.
Ray had a tough time rehabilitating. He was a very rare specimen back then. Even Roehampton Hospital struggled to know how to best treat and care for a quad amputee. He went home after several months, but the strain caused marital problems and Ray took to drinking heavily. Divorce proceedings followed.
In 1989, during all this, Ray tried to commit suicide, and drove his car at high speed into an oak tree. He fell out the car relatively unscathed, the car smashed up.
Ray resolved to fight on.
Since then Ray suffered a heart attack…and survived.
He has fathered 3 more children, and remarried.
He worked as a fundraiser for the Limbless Association. While with them he attempted to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in 2011, and got to within 500 metres of the summit before a serious chest infection forced him to stop (his heart attack was 2 years prior to this). Although the expedition raised over £80,000 he discovered that the Limbless Association had made him redundant while he was being brought off the mountain.
So he set up a new charity, called Limbcare, the same year. Limbcare helps amputees and the limb impaired all over the country. It has a network of Ambassadors (most of whom are themselves amputees) who respond to any calls for help from amputees of the limb impaired (or their families) while they are trying to cope with life. Limbcare is totally reliant upon donations, much of which come from Ray doing speaking engagements for Limbcare, and direct collections from shopping centres etc.
It is a little known fact that there are approx. 120,000 amputees in the UK. Of them, approx. 750 are ex Servicemen. The rest are civilians. 8,000 people a year suffer amputations. The main reasons are Diabetes, Road Accidents, and Meningitis. Limbcare helps civilians AND ex servicemen and women.
In 2011 Ray was awarded the MBE by HM The Queen for his charitable work.
In February 2016 Limbcare received the Queen’s Award for Services to the Voluntary Sector.
Ray is now the United Kingdom’s longest surviving quad amputee.
Ray’s vision is to help every amputee that requests assistance. At present they hear from around 30%. Ray wants to raise awareness further.
Ray would like to build a purpose built rehabilitation centre for in house care of new amputees to help in every aspect of their new life, before they return home, to help the readjust to the massive changes.
Ray has done all this on a very tight budget, as has Limbcare. On top of his substantial and ongoing tasks with running Limbcare, Ray is now seeking to provide a private Motivational Speaking service to Corporations, during which he shall raise awareness of the plight of amputees, promote Limbcare, and donate part of the proceeds of the event to Limbcare. The message shall be one of inspiration, motivation and overcoming huge setbacks.
The Corporate Motivational Speaking service is called Ray Inspires. Simon Speed is Ray’s Head of Corporate Events.
Ray has written a book called I’m Still Standing.
An eBook is soon to be released on www.10ThingsToKnow.info on Coping with Amputation.
Tune in to The Elsabe Smit Show on Sunday 8th October live at 4 pm GMT using this link: https://www.facebook.com/AskElsabeSmit/videos to hear more about Ray's remarkable story.
The show covers a range of topics related to the creation process, from becoming aware of your destiny, through shaping your thoughts and actions, to learning the wisdom from your experiences and practising forgiveness.
Here is a link to the recorded show on Youtube.