Richard Barnes was just minutes from death after walking into A&E at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) with a sore leg in June 2018.
He spent the next seven weeks in the intensive care unit at the hospital and is only here today thanks to the quick-thinking, care and treatment of staff.
Richard, from Ilfracombe, survived necrotising fasciitis, leukaemia, sepsis, a brain seizure, left leg amputation at the hip, and a stroke.
“I owe the hospital my life several times over,” said Richard, whose recovery has astonished professionals.
“Staff quickly realised the situation was serious, and some even rushed to the hospital on their day off.
“By some amazing miracle I survived and am able to walk on my crutches and climb the largest sand dunes I can find on Woolacombe beach,” added Richard, who underwent chemotherapy after leaving hospital nearly 10 weeks after being admitted.
Richard, aged 53, has since taken on a number of fundraising challenges, raising thousands of pounds for the Royal Devon Hospitals Charity. The dad-of-two has completed a six-mile walk along the Tarka Trail from Bideford to the Puffing Billy in Torrington, and a cycle from the Puffing Billy to Fremington Quay and back.
In June 2023, he completed a one-legged walk along the coast path from Ilfracombe to Lee to celebrate his 5-year ‘ampuversary’, raising £2,182.
“The staff at NDDH saved my life and I will never be able to thank them enough for the incredible treatment and care I had,” he said.
“I will always be in their debt which is why I have volunteered to be a fundraiser and in some small way give back.”