Simon’s helmet-mounted GoPro camera showed that the collision, which resulted in Simon sustaining life-threatening and life-changing injuries, was simply an unfortunate accident.
Other road users quickly raised the alarm and due to the severity of the accident and the injuries sustained, the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) team was tasked to the scene of the collision.
Simon’s injuries included multiple fractures to his sternum, ribcage, pelvis, femur and left arm, as well as serious pelvic and internal trauma.
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Had it not been for the work of the air ambulance crew, NI Fire & Rescue Service, NI Ambulance Service, and the PSNI at the roadside and the work of the major trauma team at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Simon would not have survived his injuries.
Prior to the accident Simon worked as a butcher in his father’s business and was a well-known, friendly face in both the Main Street shop and at the butchery counter in the Glebeside Spar.
Outside of work, Simon’s passion, inherited from his dad Tony, was his motorbike and, on a good da, he enjoyed nothing more than a run from Ballymoney to Portrush, then around the beautiful Antrim coast road to Ballycastle, returning home via Armoy.
Ironically, it was on such a run that he was involved in the accident.
In his earlier years, Simon was building a reputation as a sportsman, having become an Irish swimming champion and as an up-and-coming soccer talent in the Coleraine and Ballymena areas. As the commitment to the family business grew, the time for sport was limited and it became a casualty to his growing love for motorcycling.
After 10 major surgeries, eleven weeks of intensive treatment in the Royal Victoria Hospital and two weeks intensive physiotherapy at Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast, Simon has been allowed to return home, to continue his rehabilitation under the watchful eye of his mum, Sharon, a nurse with the Causeway Trust for the last 35 years.
Whilst Simon has been discharged from hospital for now, he is extremely limited in what he is able to do, being confined to short sessions indoors on a pair of crutches. Simon has made amazing progress since the accident, but he knows that it will be a long time before he can resume a normal lifestyle.
He has faced his injuries with bravery, and he knows that his recovery will include further surgery and his dearest wish is that a significant amount of money can be raised to ensure that the Air Ambulance is available for the next person that needs it.
Simon said: “The Air Ambulance costs £5,500 per day to run so every penny really does go a long way to making sure that this vital service can continue.
“I know that without the services of the Air Ambulance and the medical team, I just wouldn’t have made the same recovery. I’m so grateful and would encourage people to do what they can to support AANI, it’s a fantastic charity.”
The charity, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI), in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the region and responds to seriously ill or injured patients, seven days a week, for twelve hours a day.
Simon, along with his family and friends have launched an appeal to raise much needed funds for this essential service. For more information on planned events please visit www.simons-aani-appeal.co.uk or their Facebook page where members of the public can share and donate in confidence – 100% of funds raised will be donated to the Air Ambulance NI.
The public can also support the charity by joining Club AANI, an exclusive members club, for a weekly donation of £2. To find out more about the charity, how to join Club AANI or how to support AANI visit www.airambulanceni.org or call 028 9262 2677.