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From Tragedy to Triumph: My Journey of Overcoming Sepsis, Founding ‘Finding Your Feet’, and Earning an MBE

Cor hutton speaking

By Dr Cor Hutton MBE

I lead a very busy, active life, and there’s rarely time to sit and write about it. However, this week was exceptional, demanding a moment of reflection, gratitude, and respect. I’m eager to share it with you, but first, let me bring you up to date.

In June 2013, a persistent and annoying cough landed me in the hospital as my body battled septic shock. As a fit and healthy ‘angel’ who completely respected her body (almost true!), this was more than a physical shock. I had no idea what sepsis was or why I’d been so unlucky.

Some might say I was very lucky. Sepsis claims 50,000 lives annually in the UK, but I survived. Medically, I was labeled a miracle worker, a kind of Wonder Woman. However, that was far from the truth. After three months of fighting for my life in three different intensive care units, trying to save my vital organs, it was time to confront the other side effects. My feet and hands, long starved of a healthy, oxygenated blood supply, had turned from dark pink to purple, then blue, and eventually black.

One morning, I was crudely and brutally told that my limbs were unsalvageable, and I faced a life without hands and legs. In my talks, I describe the devastation and grief that come with such news, as well as some of the first amusing responses that crossed my mind, like, ‘I’ll never wear another flip-flop.’

Cor Hutton inspirational speakerLife thereafter became much harder. I struggled with waves of sympathy and the feeling of being a ‘charity case.’ The only way to survive, in my mind, was to accept this reality for the time being and vow to turn it into an opportunity to help others. There seemed to be no charity or group that could assist me, no support from others who had been through similar experiences. Even the best medical staff couldn’t truly understand what it felt like. So, we set up ‘Finding Your Feet.’ The initial plan was to give me a purpose, but it evolved into offering all the experience I’d gained to others, helping them through their periods of hell and helplessness. It’s grown into so much more. Now, we offer around 60 clubs per month, ranging from tame and gentle activities to hard exercise and exciting challenges. We push amputees outside their comfort zones, giving them hope, fun, and great peer relationships – maybe even giving them their positive lives back.

Our team is the most considerate, caring bunch, working for much less than they are worth, for longer hours than they are paid for, in a tough environment dependent on generous benefactors, foundations, and grants, especially when the country is struggling financially with little to spare.

This brings me to my special week when I was flattered and honoured to be invited to the Royal Palace of Holyrood and presented with an MBE by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. However, I feel embarrassed to be singled out for this award when it’s the fantastic team that should be credited. Together, we make such a difference in our Troopers’ lives, saving lives and changing many more, casting me in a very good light. I only started it, but WE make it happen, and I am only noticed because of them. No one is bigger than the team, and everyone is needed.

My role has evolved into being ‘the bad influencer.’ It’s my job to challenge myself, try new things, live every minute, and show others that it can be done. Life can still be full of adventure and fun, and we can bounce back from tragedy, still laughing!

If you’d like to hear more, I often talk about that dreadful horror, how I survived, and changed the prognosis from disabled to ‘damn well able.’ We can explore what motivated me, how we take so much for granted, and the importance of being grateful for the good things. I have the worst luck ever, so it will make you feel really lucky!

Dr. Cor Hutton MBE

More about Cor Hutton

Cor Hutton inspirational speakerCor Hutton is a remarkable figure whose story and work have inspired many. After an unexpected battle with pneumonia that turned into sepsis, Cor, a single mother, faced a life-altering challenge. She defied a mere 5% chance of survival but unfortunately lost both her hands and feet to amputation. This devastating turn of events didn’t deter her; instead, it fueled her determination.

Cor became the first Scot to receive a double hand transplant, an achievement that speaks volumes about her resilience. Her recovery and progress, including walking a mile through Glasgow city center on prosthetic legs just four months after losing her limbs, have been nothing short of miraculous.

As an inspirational speaker, Cor Hutton shares her incredible journey, touching on themes such as resilience, personal development, and diversity. She speaks candidly about the challenges and triumphs of living with a disability, offering audiences a unique and motivational perspective. Her talks are not only about her personal experiences but also about broader topics like teamwork, overcoming adversity and the importance of inclusion.

To enquire about booking Cor, contact The Speakers Agency today on +44(0)1332 810481 or email enquiries@thespeakersagency.com

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