Doctors said he may never walk again

Brisbane local, David Hessey received this devastating blow from his doctors after critically injuring his spine in a horrific mountain bike crash at Mt Joyce.

On July 5 last year, David and his partner Tamara – who are both nurses at the same hospital – went for a mountain bike ride at Wyaralong Dam. They were riding back to the car park on a downhill section of the track when David suddenly lost control. He was thrown over the handle bars, hitting the ground hard and fast.

Tamara vividly remembers finding David lying face down in the dirt. He was slipping in and out of consciousness and was having trouble breathing.

“I knew that I needed to roll David onto his back, because he could stop breathing at any minute,” Tamara recalls.

David realised he couldn’t feel or move his arms and legs when Tamara lifted his right arm across his body to make him more comfortable.

“I remember thinking ‘whose arm is she holding’ as I couldn’t feel anything. That’s when I knew that I had injured myself very badly,” David said.

As a resident of Brisbane, living and working just a stone’s throw away from major hospitals, David never imagined he would ever have to call on CareFlight’s help.

Just like David, many other Queensland residents owe their life to CareFlight – and it’s all possible thanks to the support of generous donors. By giving a donation today you can help make a significant difference.

David’s severe injuries meant he urgently needed to get to hospital the fastest way possible – in a CareFlight helicopter.

“I was so relieved when I saw CareFlight overhead. I knew David was in safe hands,” Tamara said.

The helicopter hovered above while CareFlight Aircrewman Luke Pagano winched a Doctor and Paramedic down the rescue wire to help David. CareFlight’s medical team immediately began assessing and treating David’s injuries – administering pain relief, checking his vital signs, placing a brace around his neck and strapping him onto a stretcher.

“CareFlight’s crew was quick to react and very efficient – they were amazing,” Tamara said.

CareFlight's helicopter was then airborne for Brisbane, where David was rushed into emergency. A CT scan revealed David had suffered a fractured neck, damaging the second and fourth vertebrae, and fracturing the third vertebrae in his spine.

The horrific crash had left David paralysed from the neck down. His life changed dramatically in an instant.

With serious injuries like David’s, every minute counts. Your donation to CareFlight’s Winter Appeal will help us treat and airlift thousands more critically injured patients in your community.

“He just kept fighting,” Tamara said.

After nearly three months in hospital, undergoing intense occupational therapy and physiotherapy, David miraculously regained use in his hands and can walk by himself.

“I am so fortunate, as the spinal surgeon had told Tamara and my family that the severity of my injuries may leave me a quadriplegic on permanent ventilation being able to use blinking technology to communicate,” David said.

“Without donations, CareFlight wouldn’t operate and I may not be alive today. Just being able to stand up and walk again is the best feeling ever. I’m the luckiest person in the world.”

Without your contribution, CareFlight simply couldn’t be there providing its lifesaving service so many people rely on. The entire CareFlight team, and the thousands of patients we airlift every year, are grateful for your ongoing generosity.