Hi all, we wanted to take 5 minutes of your time to ask a favour!
We’re asking this favour for our best friend Liam Earle (aged 26) who in January 2019 was involved in a truly horrific accident involving an 11 tonne Caterpillar telehandler. He was left with an incomplete spinal injury at T5 (upper chest), a broken neck, 9 broken ribs, fractures of several vertebrae, exploded lower spine and a shattered pelvis. Not to mention the several large wounds where skin, muscle and fat were lost. His pelvic surgeon described these injuries as a mid-body amputation and his spinal consultant said that in his 20 year’s experience, he had never seen injuries as serious or complex as Liam’s while the investigating officer likened his injuries to a soldier who had been blown up by an IED. It’s an absolute miracle he is alive! Following 4 weeks in a coma, 3 months in hospital, 7 months in a Spinal Rehabilitation Unit and 18 operations (4 more to come) Liam is nearing his discharge date.
It’s at this point we’re asking for support to fund Liam’s onward journey. With the right support, equipment and neurological physiotherapy we have been told Liam could walk again but due limits of the NHS they are unable to fund him to do this. That’s why we’re asking a favour, just a small one – for you to donate the cost of a pint at the weekend, the cost of your cigarettes, the price of that new dress, a fundraising event here or there - anything small or large to help our best friend pay for the equipment and physiotherapy he needs to get back on his feet and WALK AGAIN! Imagine if 100 of you donated your pint money (£6ish) to Liam this weekend that would be £600 already!
(Feel free to spend 5 more minutes of your time to read the full story below outlining exactly what the money will go towards)
On Sunday January 20th, 2019 we received the frightening call that Liam had been involved in a horrific accident where he was run over by an 11 tonne Caterpillar and was being rushed to Southmead Hospital by air ambulance.
Immediately, we all rushed to the hospital where Liam had been taken straight into surgery and then to Intensive Care. We were told Liam’s injuries were life-threatening and at best life-changing. He underwent 23 hours of surgery in the first four days.
What followed were four frightening weeks of Liam in a coma as the incredible medical teams established the extent of his injuries. It was a frightening & uncertain time not knowing what his, his family’s or our futures would look like but we visited nearly everyday.
Liam suffered a C1/2 fracture (broken neck), incomplete spinal injury at T5, fractures of his vertebrae T1 – T12, L4, an exploded L5, S3, S4, a double acetabular fracture where his pelvis was shattered, part of which was put back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Liam also suffered 9 broken ribs, a fracture to his eye socket and very serious soft tissue wounds where he lost skin, fat and muscle from where he was split open resulting in many surgeries and major skin grafts.
Slowly, to our relief Liam was woken up and had to start the painstaking journey of having to come to terms with what had happened to him and to process that he could no longer move his legs. After nearly three months, Liam was transferred to Salisbury Spinal Unit where he is currently. With incredible determination Liam has worked unbelievably hard here, using physio to learn to move in an out of bed and to transfer from his wheelchair independently. But this has been made all the more difficult as Liam is still struggling with persistent excruciating pain in his hips and lower back caused by calcifications (joints fusing together) which prevents him from making even quicker progress. Nevertheless, he has miraculously defied all odds and slowly but surely, we’re watching his legs come back to life! Recently, some of us were lucky enough to watch him take a few aided steps around the ward – it was the most inspiring and moving thing we’d ever seen! Proud doesn’t cover it.
It’s promising to see as Liam has always been a very active person who loves Snowboarding and Skateboarding, he’s a qualified snowboard instructor & spent two seasons living & teaching in Canada. It has always been a huge part of his life since the age of 4 – the prospect of never doing this again has been immensely difficult.
But it seems those dreams of getting Liam back on the slopes one day aren’t as unrealistic as we’d thought. Liam has now been told by consultants that despite his horrific injuries, with good neurological physiotherapy and support they believe he could walk again one day!
Unfortunately, due to NHS limitations they do not have the resources to help Liam to do this and he will need to pay for this privately. So here we are at the present day, with a discharge date looming and little means to pay for the next steps of rehabilitation.
More than anything we want to support Liam to walk again by helping raise the funds so he can access the right support to do so. We have therefore (with much persuasion to get Liam to agree) set up a GoFundMe to raise the finances to make this possible.
To help us reach our goal of Liam walking again he will need special equipment such as;
To live independently Liam will need special equipment and physiotherapy;
£5,000 for an active wheelchair + special cushions (to support soft tissue injuries) this will also allow him to drive a car again.
£1000 for a bed with electronic controls (as Liam can’t sit himself up easily or pain free)
£1000 for a double size spinal mattress
£480 for a reflexologist 1 x per week for 12 weeks
£600 for specialist splints to help him walk (Liam is unable to independently out on his current pair)
£40,000 for intensive physio for 16 weeks @ £100 p/h through a specialist Neurophysio rehab centre
Liam has personally requested that any extra money will be donated to Salisbury Spinal Unit.
As you can see, it isn’t going to be easy – but with help, we might be able to make a start. It has been an unimaginably testing time for Liam but throughout it all we have been so inspired by his attitude, drive and determination to be independent, to walk and to get back to shredding the slopes one day.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read Liam’s story. If you would be so kind, we, Liam and his family would be SO incredibly grateful for any financial support you can offer. Absolutely anything you can afford will help Liam with the next steps of his journey.
We hope to post regular updates on this page of how the funding is helping and you can follow for yourself on Liam’s instagram @learle92