Local double amputee trains as motivation speaker

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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.

“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.

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.”

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.