A GRANDFATHER and his family will cheer on half marathon runners who are supporting the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), the charity said to have saved his life.
Dale Reed, 48, from Pelton, County Durham, will be joined by his partner Fiona Samms and other family members to motivate runners during the last mile of the Great North Run, including their niece’s boyfriend Reece Hutchinson.
Reece was inspired to raise money for GNAAS after the charity’s air medics treated Mr Reed, who was left paralysed after cladding blew off and fell on him while working at a plant in Port Clarence on October 2, 2017.
The GNAAS paramedic and doctor team worked alongside the North East Ambulance Service in very windy conditions and spent more than an hour treating Mr Reed on scene.
His daughter Karley Reed, 26, said: “They performed CPR to resuscitate him, and the GNAAS team inserted chest drains because he had collapsed lungs and the air medics also performed a blood transfusion on site because he had internal bleeding from lacerations in his liver.”
Mr Reed was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by a road ambulance. He was found to have sustained a C4 spinal cord injury meaning he is now tetraplegic. He also broke 37 bones including his jaw being broken in three places and his hip and pelvis bones being unrepairable.
Miss Reed said: “It’s been hard coming to terms with what has happened and learning to adapt to it.
“We were told he would never eat, speak or breathe unassisted again but he’s managed to achieve all of this. He can move his shoulders, and there’s a little bit of movement in his arms, but he’s in a pain a lot.”
Mr Reed was recently discharged from hospital and is currently staying at Hawthorns Care Centre in Peterlee.
He visited the GNAAS base at Durham Tees Valley Airport with his family to meet Dr Jonathan ‘Doogie’ Howes and paramedic Mark Cotgrave who treated him on the day of the incident.
Miss Reed said: “The crew were really lovely and made us so feel welcome. It was nice to put faces to the people who saved our dad and show them how well he is doing, considering the doctor said he didn’t think he would make it.
“We are so grateful for what GNAAS have done. It is because of the work the crew did that my dad is still here today. The family are all looking forward to supporting this amazing charity at the Great North Run.”
Dr Howes said: “Dale was one of the most badly injured people I have seen who still had a pulse. He required all the critical care interventions we could provide including anaesthetic and all the blood we had on board.”
“Considering his injuries, it is remarkable to see the progress he has made. He was classed as an ‘unexpected survivor’, but he’s had top quality care all the way up to when he was discharged from hospital.”
The family have joined the GNAAS ‘cheer team’ for the Great North Run, which is being held on Sunday September 9. To join Mr Reed and his family and be part of the team, sign up here: bit.ly/GNAASCheerTeam or call 01325-487263.