A local man who was told he would never stand or walk again is to run the Dublin marathon this weekend.
Jason Le Masurier, who lives in Buncrana with his wife Liz and their young son, sustained a near-fatal brain injury ten years ago in a kite surfing accident.
A gust of wind lifted Jason 20 feet into the air and dropped him on his head in the sand of Blackpool beach. He was taken to hospital by an air ambulance and was operated on for seven hours.
Liz was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time and she kept a bedside vigil as Jason remained in a coma for a number of weeks.
“The prognosis was very poor. Jason was unable to move the left side of his body at all. He was unable to walk or stand”, Liz explains.
Jason underwent a further nine surgical procedures and remained in hospital for 22 months in total swinging between life and death.
“Medics told us that Jason would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.”
Jason refused to accept this and with the help of community physiotherapists, and his own determination, he eventually did walk.
“He was a total action man before the accident and was very physically active. He had quite an outdoor lifestyle and would have gone skiing and sailing. Jason was determined that he would walk again and get his old life back.”
He took his first steps two weeks after leaving hospital and nine months later he was able to walk down the aisle after marrying Liz.
“The first year at home was gruelling. Jason would have physio sessions four or five times a week. He is a very positive thinker and was so determined and ended up making a good recovery.
“It was a long process but Jason just got on with it and didn’t let things get him down.”
Jason learned to walk, swim and cycle again. His strength continued to improve and in 2014 Jason defied all expectations and entered a triathlon.
Liz also took up the challenge and they raised over £1,000 for the North West Air Ambulance which saved Jason’s life after the accident.
The family moved to Buncrana last year to be closer to Liz’s family and they have become very much part of the community.
Jason volunteers with the RNLI and regularly goes into Donegal schools to talk about lifeboats.
More recently, he has also set up the Buncrana park run and the response so far from running enthusiasts has been ‘amazing’. Jason is using his entry in the Dublin marathon to raise awareness of the work of the air ambulance and hopefully raise much-needed funds for them.
“An air ambulance can make all the difference for someone who has suffered a brain injury or even a heart attack or stroke,” Liz said.
If you would like to donate to the air ambulance visit www.airambulanceni.org or www.communityairambulance.ie/