Nick Ashill, a 58-year-old American lecturer, decided to run across the country to raise money for charity after spending 5 years in hospital bed due to a serious car accident.

After 16 surgeries, Ashill was finally able to return to the place where he had an accident and complete an unfinished run five years ago. Joining him on the run were lifeguards, health experts and three surgeons.

After more than 20 days of running through the states of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with a total distance of 922 km, the lecturer from New Zealand ended the journey at Coney Island in New York City. After a 5,000 km journey across the US, Ashill has raised more than $8,000 for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand (ARFNZ).

Male runner underwent 16 surgeries in 5 years.  Photo: RNZ

Male runner underwent 16 surgeries in 5 years. Photo: RNZ

Before that, after her mother died of pulmonary fibrosis in 2015, Ashill was determined to exercise and start running to raise funds for ARFNZ. His goal is to run from Los Angeles to New York to raise $ 10,000, thereby helping patients with the same disease as his mother.

However, in 2017, while on the track in the city of Columbus, the New Zealand lecturer was hit by a pickup truck and fled. The strong impact sent Ashill into a ditch out of sight. Fortunately, at that time, the runner was chatting with his wife via Skype. His wife then contacted medical to take the runner to the emergency room. The New Zealand runner had to reposition the bones of his leg and pelvis, and reattach a part of the perforated intestine.

The accident deformed Ashill’s gait. However, despite the doctor’s predictions that he would never be able to run again, the Victoria University lecturer was determined to complete the journey across the United States from the first days of his stay at the hospital.

“The feeling is indescribable. I finally finished the unfinished journey. I want to thank so many people, from the team of doctors who took care of me, helped me to walk like normal. often to the people who have supported me throughout the past 20 days,” the 58-year-old lecturer shared. Besides pushing his limits, Mr Ashill’s fundraising journey has also had a positive impact on patients with serious lung problems in New Zealand and the UK.

The 58-year-old runner completed the 5,000 km run after 5 years.  Photo: NZ Herald

The 58-year-old runner completed the 5,000 km run after 5 years. Photo: NZ Herald

ARFNZ CEO Letitia Harding said after witnessing the 58-year-old runner’s achievement: “This is a great achievement because Nick has overcome adversity, both physically and mentally, to inspire others. many people”.

“I had to learn to walk again from scratch. Working out the key muscle groups of the body and increasing the strength of my legs helped me to be able to run again,” says the runner about his recovery. Besides, he also revealed that his current life has stabilized and he also accepts to forgive the person who caused the accident.