Firefighter Steve Bartlett had administered pain relief and reassured William's parents before he was taken to the hospital.
An 11-year-old boy from Hartley Wintney in Hampshire has embarked on a 100-mile cycling challenge to show his gratitude to a firefighter who helped him when he suffered a serious leg injury. William Gooch injured his hip and femur while playing football in July 2022. Steve Bartlett, a co-responder at the local fire station, treated him at the scene before paramedics arrived, per BBC. William has planned to cycle 100 miles and visit fire stations throughout Hampshire to thank Bartlett for his help and fundraise for The Fire Fighters Charity.
The young boy suffered a slipped capital femoral epiphysis, which caused the top of his femur to slip off the neck of the bone in a backward direction. Bartlett was able to administer pain relief and reassure William's parents before he was taken to the hospital. William underwent major surgery on his hip and femur and had to use a wheelchair before he could walk on crutches. After undergoing extensive hydrotherapy and physiotherapy, he was strong enough to get back on his bike by early December. As a gesture of gratitude, he intends to participate in the Hampshire Hilly sportive in May and cycle to as many of the 60 fire stations in Hampshire as possible. In addition, he is planning a separate ride to visit all the stations located on the Isle of Wight.
Sarah Gooch, William's mother, said, "Without Steve, William would have been in much more pain and I think we would have panicked. It was because of Steve that we stayed calm. Thank you doesn't seem enough." Describing William's 100-mile cycling challenge in support of The Fire Fighters Charity, Bartlett expressed his admiration, describing the endeavor as "wonderful." He added, "It's been a long recovery for William but his determination to get back to full fitness and onto his bike is evident and something he and his family should be proud of."
In another similar story, a 90-year-old man, Peter Burkhardt, rides his bicycle for 2 hours every day to meet his wife. Peter's wife is located 17 kilometers away at a hospice in Apeldoorn. He said, "Cold doesn’t bother me and with rain, you can put on a rain jacket. If it's really bad I’ll take a cab and else one of my sons will bring me. So I’ll always get to my wife." When questioned about his motivation, he replied, "Because I want to see my wife and be with her. We are married for 63 years so then you want to be together."
To make the trip, he dons his blue ski suit and body warmer and begins his journey. He starts by navigating the roundabout at Zwolseeweg in Deventer, checking both ways before proceeding. He then crosses a railway bridge and tackles a steep slope before continuing down a straight road until he arrives at the hospice. After spending time with his wife, Burkhardt embarks on the return journey, which takes another hour to complete. Burkhardt has been traveling to Apeldoorn for the last seven years. He said, “I have to take the situation as it is. I just want to be with her every day. I just can't miss her. I did it by car for a while. But even then I alternated it with the bike."