Prior to his accident Darren was extremely active enjoying water sports, golf, hiking, rugby, football and living life to the full.
Just days after Christmas in 2014 Darren fell backwards over a balcony in a house they were renting in Sydney. With Jo by his side, Darren was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital where it was confirmed that he had suffered a broken neck and crushed spinal cord as a result of the fall.
Darren suddenly became a C4 incomplete quadriplegic and was told that he would be paralysed from the neck down. Fortunately, after months of rehab and hard work he managed to regain some movement, but the condition has left him with very limited use of his legs and left arm and his right arm is still completely paralysed.
One of his biggest adjustments following the injury was to accept life as a father with a spinal cord injury. With limited movement and walking ability, finding alternative ways to stay active and interact with Martha has been an ongoing challenge.
In total he spent 8 months is hospital, 3 weeks in intensive care, 9 weeks in the Spinal ward followed by a 5 month stay in a Spinal Injury Unit.
Their lives in Australia had to come to an end as after his accident he was no longer able to work so they moved back to England in December 2017 (40 degrees drop in temperature).
They soon realised it would be harder to participate in recreational activities in the UK but didn’t fully appreciate the gulf in opportunities/facilities versus Australia.
By getting Darren a new lightweight wheelchair and specialised exercise equipment he will be able to be a lot more independent which will have an enormous benefit both to his esteem and confidence.
The effects of a spinal cord injury like this can be devastating for patients and their families. But exercise and physical activity can be particularly beneficial.
Currently, exercise is the only known intervention that can have lasting effects on function after a spinal cord injury, both in promoting neural recovery and in reducing secondary complications. There is no “magic pill” that can replace all the benefits of exercise.
Physical activity can also help better manage problems such as spasticity, weight gain and chronic pain. It can help improve strength and endurance, which in turn can improve the ability to accomplish everyday tasks.
If we can raise enough money then we can also get Darren some specialised neurological rehabilitation to try to help him make further improvements to live a more independent and fulfilling life.