Man who survives near-death experience is fighting back to fitness


An inspirational young man who wasn’t expected to survive a horrific accident is fighting his way back to fitness and raising cash for the charity that saved his life. Callum Rock, was 16 when he plunged 70ft in a climbing accident at Highcliff Nab in Guisborough in August 2010. His family feared the worst after he suffered life-threatening multiple injuries in the fall which left his life hanging in the balance.  GNAAS played a crucial role in Mr Rock’s rescue.

An inspirational young man who wasn’t expected to survive a horrific accident is fighting his way back to fitness and raising cash for the charity that saved his life.

Callum Rock, was 16 when he plunged 70ft in a climbing accident at Highcliff Nab in Guisborough in August 2010.

His family feared the worst after he suffered life-threatening multiple injuries in the fall which left his life hanging in the balance. 

GNAAS played a crucial role in Mr Rock’s rescue. Working alongside the Cleveland Search and Rescue team, and local police and ambulance crews, GNAAS’ Guardian of the North helicopter arrived on scene with Mr Rock fighting for survival.

GNAAS doctor Simon Le Clerc, an army doctor with experience working in Afghan battlefields, anaesthetised Mr Rock at the scene before travelling with him on board the helicopter to James Cook University Hospital.

He had suffered a severe head injury and a severed artery. A team of five surgeons worked through the night in an effort to save his life, giving him ten litres of blood in the process. After 12 hours in theatre, the artery was finally repaired.

But that was just the beginning of the recovery for Mr Rock who spent a further nine days on a life support machine. Then came the decision his parents were dreading. He could remain on the machine no longer.

Jan Rock, Mr Rock’s mother, said: “Doctors told us that he had to come off the machine. But amazingly, when taken off the sedation medication, very slowly, Callum began to breathe independently.

“When he opened his eyes 16 days later, he couldn’t see, hear, talk, move or swallow. He has had to learn to do everything all over again.”

Despite fears that he might never walk again, Mr Rock, now 20, has proved everybody wrong with his amazing recovery.

Not only is he walking, the Middlesbrough College student has just completed a five-mile run to raise money for GNAAS, which helped to save his life and completed the Hartlepool Marina 5 Mile Road Race in 50 minutes.

Mrs Rock said the surgeons at James Cook University Hospital were “brilliant” and her son pulled through, but then followed a long process of repair and rehabilitation, including facial reconstruction and skin grafts to re-build his battered body.

Mr Rock, of Morton, has been helped in his rehabilitation by taking up running again and is now a member of the Swift-Tees running group. He was among those selected to carry the Olympic torch in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

Mr Rock has now raised more than £1,800 for the air ambulance. 

Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS said: “Callum embodies the importance of supporting GNAAS. He is such a lovely guy and we want to thank him for all he has done for us since his accident.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service operates three aircraft across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria and needs £4m to run the service every year. 

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