I was living an exciting, busy life like every other hard working dad with a wife and young family. I was managing a mild medical disorder which, in the end, turned out to be quite a rare and complex issue. The medication I was taking reduced my immunity and I picked up a CMV infection that quickly progressed into life-threatening cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonitis.

My situation worsened quite quickly and I was admitted to my local A&E and my ability to breathe quickly deteriorated. When things went ugly, I was ‘blue-lighted’ in an ECMO equipped ambulance (5 hrs drive) and admitted to Royal Brompton ITU in October 2014.

I was in ITU for three weeks and the ward for one week, unconscious for the most part. The bits I do remember still stay with me and I will always remain in awe of the kindness and technical expertise of the staff at Royal Brompton.

After the event, I was told that I was lucky to pull through. I know it wasn’t luck. It was the dedication of the whole team at the Royal Brompton from the ECMO referral and transfer team to the consultants, doctors and nurses who give it everything in the ITU wards. Right the way through to the dietitians, recovery teams, physiotherapy group and follow-up care. It was also the long journeys that my good wife, family and friends made to support me.

I still visit the respiratory outpatients' clinic at Royal Brompton, every nine months now and I get a warm feeling when I arrive. I smile to myself and think that this is the place where I had to learn how to eat and walk again. I remember the sweet taste of fresh water, not having taken on water orally for weeks. The taste of my first fruit yoghurt was out of this world!

I remember the applause when I took my first step without the Zimmer frame. I remember the satisfaction from progressively achieving little things like, being able to compress the tip of a deodorant can, brushing my teeth, using the toilet, taking a shower, picking up my youngest child, climbing stairs, long walks, getting back on my bike, cycling 5 miles, cycling 60 miles, coaching rugby, securing an important job leading a large engineering team and having a normal family life again.

My recovery was rapid and I was determined that all the hours that the medical professionals spent on me didn’t go to waste. I try and keep active life now with plenty of gentle exercise. I am happily married and my four boys are growing up fast. I still manage a rare autoimmune disease (ASS). Life is good, thanks to the ongoing support from my good wife, family and the NHS network of expertise, especially the team at the Royal Brompton. The future bike rides I do will be to support Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital Charity.

Thanks guys for giving me another chance.