Nearly £30,000 has been raised to help care for a motorcyclist who was paralysed after making a split-second decision to steer his bike into a ditch rather than hitting a group of cyclists.
32-year-old Chris Toon broke his back in the crash on June 11 near Melton Mowbray, and described how he had had to choose between ploughing into a group of cyclists or going off the road himself after losing control of his bike.
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“I was heading towards Melton Mowbray, I was coming up to a blind bend so I slowed down but as I slowed down my back wheel skidded and it started to fish tail,” Mr Toon told the Nottingham Post.
“I was then dragged onto the other side of the road, as soon as I got round the corner there were about 12 cyclists there in front of me so I decided in about a second because that was all I had, to go into the ditch.
“I flung myself into the ditch and my bike actually went over the hedge. I couldn’t feel my legs and I actually felt my back snap when I was falling down. I just remember the cyclists coming to help me and saying thank you that I chose not to crash into them.
“I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I hurt someone else.”
Mr Toon was airlifted from the scene and received major spinal surgery, but is now paralysed from the neck down and has been told by doctors that he will never walk again.
In the wake of the incident, Mr Toon’s friend Rachel Richardson set up a crowdfunding page (which can be found here) to help pay for a special wheelchair and modifications to the music teacher’s house.
The initial aim was to raise £11,000, put that target has been smashed, with nearly 1,000 people donating more than £28,000 at the time of writing.
“I never expected that we would raise that much, but we need to raise much more as he will need his house adapting,” Ms Richardson told the BBC.
“The donations have been overwhelming, one man has donated £255 out of his whisky jar.”
Mr Toon says that he plans to return to teaching as soon as he is able after a period of rehabilitation.