THERE will be an extra bit of festive sparkle in the Jones household this year as dad Richard and his partner Michaela celebrate their son Dougie’s first Christmas.
But this wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the Wales Air Ambulance. Without them Richard, 34, wouldn’t be here today, he wouldn’t have met his partner and his son wouldn’t have been born.
Richard is one of the Wales Air Ambulance’s survivors and, thankfully, he is here this Christmas to celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year” with his loved ones.
It could have been a lot different. The father-of-one had been travelling to work in his truck and had a road accident resulting in catastrophic injuries. The early and critical care he received from the Wales Air Ambulance crew undoubtedly saved his life.
Upon arrival, Dr Bob Tipping and Critical Care Practitioner Marc Allen spotted signs of internal bleeding. At the roadside they gave six units of blood products to help Richard’s significant blood loss, and due to the severity of his injuries, particularly his leg, they gave general anaesthetic and put him on a ventilator to control his breathing.
Richard, of Tenby, was transferred to the nearest specialist centre for limb injuries and was so ill the decision was made to amputate part of his right leg. Whilst recovering in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital he got to know a nurse, who is now mum to their beautiful eight month old baby boy and they are looking forward to spending their first Christmas as a family of three.
Richard said: “For me, my Christmas miracle is my life. My feelings towards Christmas have certainly changed since the accident. As much as you try not to, you do find yourself wondering ‘what if.’ I don’t take anything for granted like I used to. It will be an extra special occasion for me and my family this year and celebrating my son Dougie’s first Christmas.
“I look forward to spending time with my family and friends and enjoying lots of delicious food – especially pigs in blankets!”
Since his accident, Richard has had to learn a whole new way of living, including walking with a prosthetic limb. He admits he has good days and bad days and now puts more time aside for himself instead of rushing about as much as he did before the accident.
He said: “The whole team at Wales Air Ambulance have inspired and given me so much. I am giving back in my own way – I give peer support to others who have limb amputations, and I recently took part in a fishing competition raising funds for the Charity; fishing has been one of my lifelong hobbies.
“I’ve always heard stories about all the amazing things the Wales Air Ambulance do.
“However, I never really thought about the service before and never thought I’d end up needing their assistance. I was surprised to find out that, despite the amazing work they do, the Charity is solely funded by public donations. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even on Christmas Day.
“Whilst I’m tucking into my Christmas Dinner and enjoying time with loved ones, I will be thinking of those who have given up their Christmas to save lives.”
If like Richard, you would like to support the Charity and help them save more lives this Christmas you can donate by visiting A Christmas Miracle | Welsh Air Ambulance Charitable Trust (walesairambulance.com)