The Prince, the Dream and the Prosthesis
Life smiled on the carefree "king of the road" and in 2018 a dream came true for Roy Swillens: the boy of the village became Prince Roy l of the Graasbörgers in Susteren. A year later, Roy Swillens lost both legs in an accident with his truck. Now the old prince with prosthetics is looking for a new meaning in his life.
Roy Swillens is early on March 20, 2019 for his employer. On the German A42 motorway, he drives his truck towards Dortmund, the body filled with material intended for a waste processor. The carnival of that year is still fresh in the memory of the bon vivant and former prince. A year earlier he saw his dream come true with a steady look: the boy from the village became Prince Roy l. A great time, but now he is working in the truck cabin, on the asphalt, on that other dream: to become king of the road, with hopefully his own transport company in the not too distant future. It's all within reach.
Then, out of the blue, red brake lights. Together with a dazzling, low-lying spring sun, a life-threatening combination. At Camp Lintfort, Roy crashes at full speed onto the truck that drives in front of him. The cabin detaches from the chassis, which shoots under the predecessor. Roy has never seen the blow coming, nor knows anything about it. It gets stuck in the compressed cab. Rescuers struggle to free him from the plight. The hellish pain sets Roy in shock. In the two weeks that follow, he is kept artificially in a coma. Due to various cerebral hemorrhages, his family and girlfriend lived between hope and fear during that period.
When Roy awakens from the coma, he turns out to be surprisingly clear-headed. The attending physician asks who is in the room “Yes, there is Dad. And there is mom. Why does the guy need to know that? I also remembered my phone number. All important matters. Later I asked my father about my debit card. It's not about anything, but I thought I would need it. My father started laughing, "You don't remember your PIN," he said. When I could name it like that, they knew it would be okay in my head. "
Roy's lower legs are already amputated. That was communicated to him by the doctors, but that message does not completely fall at first. When he wakes up one night and has to go to the toilet, disillusionment follows. “Of course I had a lectern, I could just let everything run. When I wanted to get out of bed, all the equipment I was attached to flew over me. I stood on the stumps and then fell forward. Only then did I realize that I had lost both my legs. ”
Roy is hospitalized in Germany for three and a half months, then in Zuyderland in Sittard, and stays internally for another five weeks at the Adelante rehabilitation center in Hoensbroek. When he returns home after six months, a new blow follows. “It is no longer just going to the cupboard and grabbing chips. Suddenly you have to ask for everything. Everything takes much longer. I have to get up at least an hour earlier if I have to go somewhere: wash, put on prosthetics, things like that. I'm still having a hard time accepting that. You will become more convenient at it over time. At least I hope so. ”
The past few months have been tough for Roy, both physically and mentally. “I struggled with myself for a long time. That went so far that I was about to commit suicide. Pretty soon I got to the top of the stairs in Germany to drop down with equipment and everything. At home in bed I have often thought about it. That was really a dark period.
Then my relationship ended. A decision I made that my ex agreed with. It was very difficult, precisely because she did everything for me. Not a bad word about her. But I didn't want her to change her life for me.
When it was over, I met another girl at Adelante. A woman of my age who has been missing both lower legs since birth. I had a lot of support for her, she really cheered me up, told me what is possible if you have to miss both legs. That took a while, but it was a short-lived relationship. Now I have contact with my ex again. In hindsight, I didn't do things right with her. I regret that. We'll see how it goes. ”
His weekly schedule with Adelante is more or less top sport. “Life with such a prosthesis is hard work. You spend all day using all your muscles. If only to stay upright. Sports gives me the relaxation.
I also join the Adelante handbiking team that will be climbing an Austrian mountain in a few months. That is a concrete goal and I have many more. Just like in the carnival time in the pub. Do what I always did, beer with friends. And then hope that it may all be as much as possible before the accident.
(Author Rob Stikkelbroeck)
Transfer Stick Battleteam 2020
On Wednesday, January 22, the baton was handed over to the new team.
After the training we all met in the Adelante garden room.
The presentation was given by Paul Dobbelsteijn, after which Paul Rademakers took over.
Paul Dobbelsteijn took care of the beautiful photos on the projector of the last Battle.
Paul Rademakers talked about the week in Austria and the way there.
About how special this week is, that it is an experience that you will never forget and that most people who cycle there try to leave behind a difficult period of their lives.
For many, it turns out to be the start of their "new" life when they have crossed the finish line.
Team captain 2020 Paul
First, the old team came forward, telling about their best experiences in Austria and during training. They have also received some tips such as: rub in well, enjoy the view around you and the atmosphere!
Then the individual participants were also asked if they had any tips, they said that you should mainly enjoy and pay attention to safety. Look back at difficult moments and see what you have already left behind and how much you have already climbed
Team 2019 Team 2020
Alex hands over the baton to Roy when the new team was presented.
All new faces that do not yet know what to expect.
because you do hear stories about that week but you must have been there once to really feel that atmosphere.
Each team member explained one by one why they want to participate in the Battle, each had his own impressive story.
And finally the baton was transferred from Alex from the old team to Roy from the new team.
Afterwards, everyone lingered for a while and everyone was able to chat a little more.7
Andrea Breuer wrote the report for this evening.
Albrecht Ribbers on the way to the Kaunertal
HandbikeBattle, a tough climb.
The HandbikeBattle is a handbike competition for people with disabilities.
You can participate as a participant in a team at a Dutch rehabilitation center
or as an individual participant. Adelante from Hoensbroek is also competing again this year
the name Adelante on Wheels, of which Appie Ribbers is a part.
The battlefield is the climb to the Kaunertal glacier in Tyrol in Austria.
The participants go up arm by arm, over a course
from 20 kilometers with an 867 meter height difference and ascent percentages up to 14 percent.
A passage along a reservoir halfway ensures five flat kilometers.
The event is scheduled for Thursday, June 18. The fall-back date is on Wednesday 17 June
bad weather. On Monday 15 June it will be definitively decided which day the
competition takes place.
Appie, a life without pain addiction
Appie Ribbers (56) from Sittard will look for borders in 2020.
He wants to definitively end his long-standing desire for pain with the HandbikeBattle in Austria.
"When I'm working on this, the constant pain fades into the background."
There is not a second that Appie Ribbers from Sittard has no pain. He constantly feels pain stimuli, even with his daily dose of morphine.
Yet he is happier than about two years ago. This year he will put a line under his rehabilitation at Adelante. He is determined.
That line will come in June this year in the form of a hand-bike competition in Austria, over a 20 km course with 867
He just doesn't have a suitable handbike. The basis for his chronic pain was laid about forty years ago. He does not want to elaborate on the very traumatic events during his childhood, but Appie indicates that he then felt that he had to suffer to receive love. For forty years I have always felt that I have failed. Pain was proof to me that I was allowed to exist. ”He committed robbery on his body. He did overly heavy physical work in construction and sported very intensively. "During work and sport I consciously cross borders. It was a form of automutilation that was only recently established.
The longing for pain led to irreparable damage to the spine from his lower back to the shoulder blades and surrounding muscles, nerves and tendons. He is hardly able to walk anymore, he needs help from his wife Nicole.
"In the past two years I felt useless until I ended up in a wheelchair. Then I regained my independence. "
He has blossomed in recent months. With the full support of his wife and with the help of a new love: hand biking. During his rehabilitation at Adelante he also tried out wheelchair rugby.
Something for him. "But there he was a danger to others and himself," says his Nicole. "
Too fanatic. ”When Adelante's hand-bike team subsequently introduced him to hand-biking, he was immediately sold.
"This is it," he knew immediately. "This gives me such an incredible boost. I used to ride mountain bike, BMX and on a racing bike. The hand bike fits exactly in that.
When I am working on this, my constant pain fades into the background. And it gives me the feeling that I can still do something. ”But that doesn't mean Appie is there yet. "I still have trouble setting my own limits," he confesses. "I keep going. Now I can not exercise completely independently, because it goes wrong again and I ask too much of myself. Here at Adelante they teach me to guard boundaries. And it's getting better and better. That is why I am happier than before. "
The handbike competition is in June. Before that, Appie still has to work hard to ensure that he has a suitable competition handbike. "Only a light hand bike is suitable for me. But those things are expensive, roughly 11,000 euros. I have already received 3500 euros from the municipality of Sittard-Geleen as a sports facility. The rest of the money? I hope that people can sponsor me. ”He started a donation on Geef.nl. "We can't cough up that amount ourselves."
He does not only do the HandbikeBattle for himself. "I want to show others that you can also exercise with chronic pain. That sport can do so much well. " His main goal, however, is to run the race and set limits at the same time. "I don't have to be the first to come up.
Second is also allowed, third? Fine. As long as I know when it has been enough. That's what it's about for me. Then I win and I finally say goodbye to my old life. " After the race, the handbike will continue to play an important recreational role in his life.
The handbike is a new start and contributes to the further development towards independence and freedom.
More intensive collaboration with Adelante
In the past year Adelante on Wheels and Adelante worked together towards improved agreements on mutual cooperation.
This ultimately resulted in a sponsorship contract with Adelante. This contains clear agreements and mutual obligations for the coming three-year period.
Following the conclusion of this contract, the board also sat together with the Adelante team, which always supervised and supported the Battle team. The purpose of this meeting was to clearly align and write down the mutual expectations regarding the training courses.
The following has been agreed:
• Members of AoW may participate in the training sessions organized by Adelante for the Battle team. This also applies to the Eifel and Voerstreek training.
• The training app will be announced 6 weeks in advance on the association app. (All of them are now in the team app)
• The training sessions start exactly at the starting time. Turning warm and stretching and stretching should be done before the actual training.
• In any case the indoor training is provided by someone from Adelante. Two Adelante team members will be present as standard,
who will primarily focus on the Battle team.
• Members of AoW take care of their own bike and Tacx.
• Members of AoW take care of the transport of the bike to and from the car, the preparation of the bike and the transfers.
• Specific requests for help from members of AoW to (team members of) Adelante will have to be initiated through a formal treatment agreement.
With these agreements we hope to have sharpened the cooperation with Adelante again.
Posbank training by Annie van Lierop
Saturday, April 7: we are ready early for the trip to Landgoed Avegoor in Ellecom. There is a serious training on the hills of the Posbank on the program for the participants of the HandbikeBattle and their buddies. Fortunately everything is already in the bus and we can leave with a good sense. It is beautiful weather and after about 1.5 hours we meet all other participants at the coffee with snacks in the hotel.
We are warmly welcomed and receive a short explanation about MoveForward / Hollister, who organize the Battle. Nice to see that their ambassador Jetze Plat started at a young age on an adapted tricycle as a handbike.
Oops, now the just-judged bike from Martijn appears to show defects. Something is wrong with the cable. All others are quickly out of sight. With the help of doctor Paul he can still get on the road again. It is quite an experience. Heavy but alright. The route is very beautiful with sometimes steep slopes.
Soon we are warm and thirsty. After a few rounds we have to go back for a sanitary stop. That is also a learning moment. Soon, the others also come back to the hotel. And while enjoying a drink, we can rest and catch up in the sun, before we return back home.
Writen by: Annie van Lierop
Watch also the impession movie below.
Adelante on Wheels now also on YouTube
Would you like to look back at all the wonderful training and sports performances of this summer and last years? On our own YouTube channel, you can watch all videos of the activities of Adelante on Wheels. Take a moment and enjoy the past events. If you follow us on YouTube (subscribe to the channel), you will receive a notification when a new video is posted. This way you will always be up to date.
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