Local double amputee trains as motivation speaker

Four years ago, Paul Johnson's life changed forever.

While taking a shortcut across some rail tracks, the now 25-year-old from Thornliebank was electrocuted resulting in both his legs being amputated.

Fast forward four years, and Paul is now on his way to be a motivational speaker thanks to charity Finding Your Feet.

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“Back in November 2014, I was in a really bad place and drinking heavily,” Paul explained.

“On this particular evening I was on a night out and got out of the taxi early. I cut across some rail tracks to take a short cut when I was electrocuted.

“The next thing I knew, I woke up and both my legs were on fire. I knew that I had to put the fire out – and fast.”

Paul continued: “I thought I was in hell. I hauled myself along the ground to put the fire out. I knew my phone was in my bag, I managed to reach it to call for an ambulance.”

Paul was rushed to hospital with third degree burns.

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Surgeons tried to save his legs, but had to amputate both above the knee.

Paul spent one month in ICU and a few months in the burns ward at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.He also spent months in rehab

“It was really, really difficult and I suffered badly from depression,” he said.

“In rehab they teach how to deal with the physical side of things but not the emotional side and I really struggled with that.”

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Paul gave up drinking after the accident and credits Finding your Feet with helping him come to terms with his disability.

“In the beginning,my low self esteem meant that I didn’t leave the house. But Finding Your Feet stuck by me and even though I didn’t stay in touch with them, they did with me and regularly contacted me. They never gave up.

“I’ve now started volunteering and now I’m working with them training to become a motivational speaker. I’m working with other staff members on the speeches that they give to schools, and receiving tips on what I would include in mine that would have the biggest impact.

“It’s slightly scary giving my own talk to children and teachers that I don’t know, but I think if I can reach just one or two kids , then I’ve done my job.”

Visit Finding Your Feet for more information on the charity.

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