Remarkable Young Newry Man Takes A Positive Outlook On Life After Losing Two Limbs.
At 15-years old most of us would have been fooling around with friends, discovering life’s adventures or at the very least worrying over exam results writes Kevin McAteer.
Ryan Cinnamond (25), however, experienced the trauma of losing not one but both his legs, a trauma that would have ensured an intense struggle for the biggest of men and wisest of women.
Ryan suffered from a ruptured aortic aneurism when he was 15 and was given a 10% chance of staying alive. He lost seven pints of blood initially. And after 11 hours of surgery he received 64 litres of blood through transfusions, but unfortunately the surgeons at the Belfast City Hospital had to amputate both legs to save his life despite doing everything they could to help him during this critical emergency.
It was an incredibly tough experience for this teenager to have this life-threatening predicament thrust on his young shoulders. But he is made of resolute stuff and ten years on from his traumatic life event, Ryan has dug deep and is determined to bounce back and has proven to be an inspirational leader and spokesperson for mental health and health recovery.
Ryan is currently retraining his brain to think positively and to build up his body and mind with a sole motivation… of helping others. He has completed a programme to reduce his body fat and is now trying to build his muscles up. He is reaching a great fitness level with the help of a personal trainer.
Down News spoke to Ryan about his journey from being a fit young man to losing his lower legs and his fight back against disability.
How did you feel just after the trauma when you lost your legs?
“I felt pretty down at the start obviously because I lost both limbs. It felt like a false atmosphere in the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, the doctors and nurses were amazing in every way, but for me the air felt false. This was probably because the whole thing didn’t hit me until I left the hospital.”
How did you feel at the time?
“I was only 15 at the time and at the time I wish I never survived. I mean I just lost my legs so football and Gaelic sports etc were not possible. It was a massive life change for me… it really wasn’t easy at the start. I had to learn to adapt and change the way I lived in a whole lot of ways.”
How did you manage to approach your mental health when you lost your legs ?
“At the start I spoke to a counsellor to help with my mental health. I was low and depressed. I was lost despite my strong family support.
“I just didn’t know what to do. I was an incredible thing to be thrust on the shoulders of someone so young. I can’t stress this enough. It is so important that you speak up in this difficult situation and talk to someone. I had to find a voice to do this.”
When did the change happen?
“At one point I knew I had to change my mind frame. For me, it was finding hope. To be honest, despite how I felt in the past when the whole thing began, there was hope.
“I decided to explore prosthetics (synthetic limbs) and use that to start running and walking again. This changed my life.
“The prosthetics gave me an opportunity to get out and get involved in different activities and start living my life again. At this stage I realised you only live once… so I decided to go for it!
Do you have any advice moving forward to anyone suffering from a major or serious trauma ?
“My best piece of advice moving forward is to retrain your brain. Learn to think positive during the bad times. Don’t let things gather up in your head, speak out and talk to someone. Opening up and talking is so, so important.”
Ryan excels in a rigorous fitness regime, and enjoys surfing and other activities. He is well on his journey through his steely determination and his capacity to care for other people.
On his Facebook page, Ryan demonstrates his focus on overcoming his ‘disability’ through positive thinking. He said: “Mental Health and suicide are serious problems world wide. You should never feel alone, but I know people do.
“When I was at my lowest point just after losing my legs I never thought about others around me. But now I do.
“I wished then that I hadn’t survived. The hardest thing was speaking out. The huge burden lifts off you once you do speak out. It’s an indescribable feeling.
“Speaking out doesn’t make you weak. Instead it shows how strong you actually are when you’re at your lowest, and I mean lowest, contemplating suicide, thinking there is no return and you fight through it to tell friends, family or professionals that you need help. Their help.
“That’s right, that is the definition of being STRONG.
“So don’t sit in silence. It’s okay not to be okay.”
You can follow Ryan on: https://www.facebook.com/Ryan-Cinnamond
and instagram at ryancinny
and also by email: firstname.lastname@example.org