FOUR years ago Chris West’s parents were asked to make the decision to turn off his life support machine after a horrific crash left him with terrible injuries.
They had received the phone call any parent dreads, that their child, then aged 16, had been hurt badly, and when they got to the hospital they were told he would never walk again, even if by some miracle he survived.
But four years after the 4x4 Chris was travelling in hit a tree at Harbridge they say they are the proudest parents alive after Chris, now 20, not only pulled through, but he has just cycled 400 miles to the Eiffel Tower in aid of the charity that saved his life.
Just as importantly, he has completed the achievement independently despite his brain injury, and his parents Sarah, 49, and Gary, 53, and his three sisters Victoria 30, Abigail, 26 and Rachel, 23, couldn’t be prouder.
Mrs West said: “Four years ago we were told he probably wouldn’t survive even if he made it to hospital, and if he did he’d be bed-bound.
“But thanks to some amazing luck he did survive, and has surpassed all expectations.”
The accident happened in Harbridge when the car in which the teenager was a passenger crashed into a tree in Somerley Road.
Hampshire Air Ambulance was called out, and emergency BASICS doctor Sarah Assheton also responded.
Dr Assheton went to the scene despite being on maternity leave and resuscitated Chris.
The speed of her response and the prompt help the teenager received likely saved his life.
“Without her, there is no way he would have got to hospital,” said Mrs West. “He was in too much of a mess and wouldn’t have made it.
“Because of those little bits of luck and because of her, we’ve still got our son.”
She added: “This cycle ride has been life-changing for Chris.“He’s managed something major without his family hovering over him – and thanks to the generosity of the public and the Ringwood and Fordingbridge Lions he’s raised a huge amount.
“He was riding with seven other people who gave him so much support. You could tell when they came cycling back in the sunset that it was a team that had really bonded.”
Chris has raised more than £900 for BASICS on the 400-mile trip.
He said: “I really enjoyed the ride – the team were brilliant and I loved cycling through the beautiful French countryside.
“And getting to the Eiffel Tower was a real thrill.”
Mrs West added: “He’s pretty hooked now – he enjoyed every moment of this.
“He’s now going to sit down and think what else he can do for them.”
To find out more, or to donate, go to www.basicshampshire.co.uk.