Wayne Maycock is a well-known figure in the industry, which he has worked in for the past 30 years. Following a life-changing accident, the UK Commercial Sales Manager at aluminium systems company Reynaers is raising money for a new prosthetic leg that will transform his quality of life beyond recognition.
We talk to him to find out his story.
Can you tell us about your accident?
I was golfing in Florida in the US in 2009 with Malcolm Allanson, a well-respected character in the industry. Whilst driving Malcolm, me and four friends we were hit by a drunk driver and I immediately lost consciousness for about 30 seconds. When I came to, we were surrounded by the emergency services. We were numbered one to six in terms of priority to be rescued based on our likelihood to survive. I was number five. Someone realised that I was conscious, I was sedated and in order to save my life, my left leg was amputated above the knee. I also sustained several other injuries including extensive damage to my right leg, a broken pelvis, ribs and arm as well as a collapsed lung. Malcolm, my dear friend and colleague, was number six. He was pronounced dead. Whilst I couldn’t attend his funeral due to my injuries, I’ve been told it was attended by huge numbers of people in the glazing industry.
After being sedated at the scene, I woke up 24 hours later after 17 hours in surgery. I didn’t know what had happened, but I had lost sensation in my left leg. It wasn’t until a doctor came in and quite brutally told me what had happened, that I realised my life would never be the same again. In a way I’m glad he treated me in such a matter-of-fact way, as I’ve never been one to seek sympathy or make a fuss.
What impact did this have on your life?
I have changed as little as possible in my life. Bearing in mind I live in a three-storey house, I didn’t get an accessible bathroom or a stair lift, or move my bedroom downstairs. If you don’t challenge yourself and become complacent then you won’t ever get better. The provision for disabled people is still awful, so in my opinion you can either shut yourself away or you can take a can-do attitude and get on with it. I chose the latter and now seven years later, nothing phases me.
Justin Hunter, the Managing Director of Reynaers and a close friend of mine, came to visit me in hospital. He asked me one question:
“Are you staying, or are you going?”
Of course, I was going nowhere. He was happy to change my job role in any way I needed to accommodate my recovery and new disability. I got my driving licence back, as I drove an automatic anyway, and within six months I was back in the office. This was crucial for my recovery as I think purpose is good for the soul. I have worked for Reynaers from 1995 until 2002, then 2006 to date. There isn’t much that I haven’t done for the company over the years from technology and training through to team management, installation and inspection. My role now involves looking after our key accounts, special projects and representing Reynaers as and when required as a senior manager.
In your opinion, what challenges are facing the aluminium industry?
The aluminium industry is unable to stand still and we are still in the process of recapturing the ground lost to the uPVC market. When I started work in 1978, aluminium ruled the market and uPVC did not exist. Everything was silver anodised aluminium, slowly moving towards white-only electrophoretic paint. Then uPVC came along and took over the market within 10 years. Now nearly 40 years later, aluminium is the product that everyone wants again. Commercially, aluminium has dominated buildings and architecture but not in retail or the domestic residential supply. You just can’t get the strength or the durability from materials that aren’t aluminium, with recent innovations bringing aluminium back to the forefront.
Technology is moving the industry forward with myriad finish options along with fast moving designs that allow architects, home owners and housing providers to offer the products and looks for today’s market with performance that is proofed for the future. Reynaers is in a strong position with specialist products, combined with a range of systems that are perfect for the trade market, setting us ahead of the competition. We’re exhibiting a host of brand new products at the FiT Show in May, so come along and see us on stand N10.
What is the biggest challenge that you now face?
Have you ever tried to put a shoe on a prosthetic foot? It isn’t easy! I was stuck with lace up shoes for a long time, but eventually found some Chelsea boots with zips. In all seriousness: everything that you take for granted, I can’t. I have always made fitness a priority in my life and at the gym I see people running on the treadmill. I can’t even remember what it feels like to have two legs, never mind imagine running again. Nevertheless, the experience hasn’t been as devastating as you might imagine. I still travel the breadth of the country for Reynaers on a weekly basis and travel around Europe visiting its overseas offices. I still consider myself lucky on that day, and spending so long in hospital was a huge leveller as I saw so many people worse off than me. The human body has an exceptional ability to repair itself and adapt.
How will a new prosthetic leg change things for you?
I’m mobile in an NHS-funded wheelchair and a prosthetic, but they are extremely basic and outdated. A new leg would be a quantum leap from where I am now. A microprocessor prosthetic works quicker than your brain to adapt to different terrains. At the moment, anything that isn’t flat pavement is a struggle for me and my balance is extremely poor. I walk at the pace of a toddler and it takes four times longer than normal to walk up a set of stairs. On steep inclines I have to walk downhill backwards and lean forwards in order to compensate for the slope. A microprocessor, however, would compensate for me on anything from slopes and stairs to sand. It can be controlled by the stump of your leg and buttocks to lock so that it doesn’t bend, meaning I’d be stable and I would have the confidence to walk around the busy town centre again. The problem is, it costs £25,000.
I’ve already received generous donations of over £11,000, including £5,000 from Reynaers. My fundraising total is £30,000 to factor in the rehabilitations sessions and check-ups. Lots of amputees don’t learn to walk again because it’s too hard. To put it in perspective, a prosthetic limb weighs 10-12kgs. I’m not bothered about falling over – if it happens, it happens, and I’ll just get up and carry on. My goal is to walk normally so that you don’t realise I have a prosthetic limb – and ultimately, to complete a round of golf without using a buggy.
My family and I have been saving money to make this dream a reality, but we simply can’t do it on our own. I’ve just set up a JustGiving page and welcome any donations, big or small, that will allow me regain the independence that was lost in 2009.
To find out more or to donate, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wayne-maycock-1
For more information about Reynaers, please visit www.reynaers.co.uk, call 0121 421 1999 or email reynaersltd(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)reynaers.com.