Dad told he will ‘never walk again’ after bike crash while visiting daughter in Thailand
Lee Francis, 54, fractured his spine in three places and is now paralysed from the waist down.
A British tourist saw his dream holiday turn into a nightmare after a horror motorbike crash.
Lee Francis, 54, was visiting his daughter in Thailand when the bike he was on with his wife crashed into a metal barrier and they were thrown off the vehicle.
He fractured his spine in three places and is now paralysed from the waist down. He was told the only reason he survived was because he was wearing a helmet.
Speaking from hospital in Cardiff after being flown home on a stretcher, Lee said: ‘It was quite traumatising being in hospital in Thailand.
‘I was in a lot of excruciating pain, especially the first hospital I was in, and I had a bit of trauma coming home on the plane. Back in Wales, especially on this ward, they’re phenomenal and have been really good to me.
‘I’ve had a lot of tests and they have continued to unfortunately give me the diagnosis that I couldn’t walk again.
‘It’s going to be a bit of a long process and it’s devastating news as you can imagine.’
Lee also suffered broken ribs and bruising to his lungs, and while he was in hospital in Thailand developed a lung condition and was put on a ventilator for a week before he could be flown home.
His daughter Katie Francis, who has been travelling around the world with her partner for six months, told Sky News: ‘We were driving back to the villa and all I remember is the road conditions were really dusty.
‘We were actually going really quite slow because a minibus overtook us and then all of a sudden I just heard a big bang.
‘I turned around and I saw my dad and my stepmother basically slam into a metal barrier at the side of the road.’
She said witnessing the crash was ‘so traumatic’ and when Lee said he couldn’t feel his legs straight away, everyone ‘kind of knew’ what had happened.
Katie has since scrapped the remainder of her travel plans to stay at home with her family.
Lee’s wife Claire suffered concussion and facial injuries, which she is currently at home recovering from.
The dad, who is from Church Village in Rhondda Cynon Taf, said: ‘She has been very tearful and emotional.
‘She supported me for days and days in the hospital, but now I haven’t seen her for three or four days because she can’t come in. She’s going through it emotionally.’
Lee has since warned people to wear protective gear while riding motorbikes and to think carefully about getting the right travel insurance.
His family is now raising money on GoFundMe to help them pay for their home to be adapted for a wheelchair. It had raised more than £10,000 at the time of publication.
Lee, who loves sport, said he is ‘overwhelmed’ by people’s generosity so far and is already thinking ahead to the future.
‘If I’m in a wheelchair, perhaps I can still help out with a local basketball club, hopefully coaching,’ he added.
‘It would be a dream but I don’t know how capable I’m going to be.’
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