Ralph Hewitt Belfast Telegraph
Motocross rider thanks NI Air Ambulance with walking fundraiser less than year after accident
March 26, 2024
  • Share
  • A Co Antrim man who spent 36 days in a coma after a motocross incident, has said he “wouldn’t be here today” if it were not for the lifesaving actions of the NI Air Ambulance.

    Thomas McPeake from Ballymena was taking part in a routine practice session in May 2023, when he came off his bike leaving him with multiple critical injuries and needing emergency lifesaving care.

    He credits his survival to the swift response and exceptional care provided by Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Team on board the air ambulance, whose timely intervention and transportation to Royal Victoria Hospital were instrumental in saving his life.

    As a token of his appreciation, Thomas raised £1,155 for the air ambulance after completing a 12-mile walk around Banagher Glen in Dungiven in January — less than a year after his accident.

    Reflecting on the accident, Thomas said: “I had a bad motocross accident in May 2023, with lot of damage, broke my neck in four places, suffered a brain injury, damage to my liver and bowel and was in a coma for 36 days.

    “I don’t remember anything from the accident, but I think the team put me into an induced coma to save my life.

    “If it weren’t for air ambulance that day, with their speedy response and transporting me to RVH, I don’t think I would be here still today.

    “I am still in recovery, which is going well, nearly feel back to myself again and I am back at work but still have a long way to go. I just want to say a massive thank you to air ambulance and the team for everything they have done”.

    Katrina Hughes, area fundraising manager with the charity, added: “Air Ambulance provides a service we all hope never to need but that is utilised on average twice per day.

    “Thomas’ injuries meant he needed emergency pre-hospital care right there in the moment to give him the chance of survival and recovery.

    “Recovering from such a traumatic event has required a lot of strength, resilience, and support from both medical professionals and loved ones.

    “We wish Thomas continued progress in his recovery and thank him for his support in taking on a challenge and fundraising.”

    The HEMS has been called out on over 4,000 incidents since the service started in 2017.