A Co Londonderry man who suffered severe spinal injuries in a bike accident has spoken about how lucky he is to be alive.
Dean Doherty spent almost five months in hospital after he came off his scrambler at a motocross track in Magilligan in March.
The 26-year-old was left with severe injuries and he was airlifted to hospital where he underwent major surgery.
After a four-and-a-half month hospital stay, Dean is back home with his loved ones in Limavady.
Speaking publicly for the first time since his accident, the inspirational young mechanic wants to give back to the people who helped him with his remarkable recovery.
“The staff at Musgrave helped me with so much. It was intense, but they got me back on my feet,” he said.
“They left me so that I’m independent at home. I know I’m in a wheelchair, but I’m fit to wash myself and get about. I’m lucky.”
Dean and his family have organised a fundraising charity event on Friday night at Limavady Football Club.
All funds raised from the event will be donated to the Spinal Ward at Musgrave.
“Nobody knows what you might need in the future, or what’s ahead of you,” said Dean.
“The staff at Musgrave helped me so much. I know what they do.”
Dean’s family feared he might never be able to walk again, however, the determined Limavady lad is able to walk short distances using support.
“I’m able to walk about 100 metres with a frame, not every day, but I can do it. I’m doing as much as I can, just not as much as I used to.”
During his stay at Musgrave, word about Dean’s knowledge and skills with cars soon spread and he was called on several times to help visitors and staff with car problems.
Since coming home, Dean and his family have made major adjustments in their lives.
Despite all the changes, however, Dean is upbeat and is determined to remain positive about the future.
Among his plans is to get his own car. “I had to sit another driving test, and I hope to get my own car soon,” he said.
Dean also plans to return to work for Road Safety Contracts in Maghera.
Dean’s mum Christine said she witnessed, first hand, the amazing work of staff at Musgrave.
“When Dean left the Royal, he could do nothing and, when he went to Musgrave I thought, how will Dean cope here, but when I saw what they did for him and how much he is able to do now, it’s amazing,” she said.
The fundraiser takes place on Friday at Limavady Football Club. It starts at 8.30pm, and includes entertainment courtesy of Dean’s brother, DJ Errol Doherty.