A dad from southeast Wales has been told he will “never walk again” after sustaining life-changing injuries in an accident while visiting his daughter in Thailand.
Lee Francis, 54, from Church Village in Rhondda Cynon Taf has been left paralysed from the waist down after he and his partner were involved in a motorbike crash the day before he was due to fly home.
Katie Francis told Sky News she and her partner had been travelling since September and her father and stepmother had spent a week visiting them.
“We were driving back to the villa and all I remember is the road conditions were really dusty,” she said.
“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.”
Ms Francis said the fact her dad was wearing a helmet had “saved his life” and that witnessing the crash was “so traumatic”.
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“Straight away, I ran to my dad and he just said, ‘I’m paralysed, I can’t feel me legs’ so he kind of knew straight away how he was feeling,” she added.
Mr Francis’s wife, Clare, suffered facial injuries in the collision and she continues her recovery.
Sri Lanka was due to be the next destination for Ms Francis and her partner before moving to live in Australia – plans which have now had to be scrapped.
“We’ve just decided to come home now and just focus on my dad because we wouldn’t have been able to stay out there, the condition he was in,” Ms Francis added.
“He was fighting for his life, because even the surgeon who did my dad’s decompression surgery, he said he’s lucky to be alive because he lost a lot of blood as well.”
The news of Mr Francis’s paralysis comes after a difficult few months for the family.
“It’s just been really traumatic because before I went travelling in September, me and my sister lost our mother, so obviously it hasn’t been a great year anyway,” his daughter said.
“As soon as that happened to my dad, me and my sister thought this can’t happen again.”
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The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to make adaptations to Mr Francis’s house to make it more accessible for him.
“It’s been amazing to be honest, my dad is so overwhelmed. When the first few bits of donation came through, he was tearing up,” Ms Francis added.
“We’re just all overwhelmed as a family [for] the support, and it’s so nice to see old colleagues of my dad or people that know my dad reach out and say how lovely he is.
“Everyone sharing support as a community is just amazing.”