Devon couple, Chloe and Craig Dennis, have put out a plea for support from the rural community after a 20ft fall from a shed roof left Craig with paralysis and other life-changing injuries, writes Charlotte Cunningham.
Thursday, June 27, 2019 - a fairly ordinary day for most, but for young couple, Chloe and Craig Dennis, it was a day that changed their lives completely.
On the morning of June 27, 25-year old Craig was working on a roof at his parent’s farm near North Tawton, Devon when he fell 20ft onto the concrete below.
The self-employed steel fabricator and agricultural shed erector was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital for an emergency CT scan where the devastating extent of his injuries were revealed and included a severe bleed to the brain, multiple fractures to his skull and major spinal damage.
He was then rushed to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to undergo emergency surgery on his brain from the specialist head trauma and neurological team. Due to the severity of the swelling of his brain he required further surgery within 24 hours.
The next three and a half weeks saw Craig in intensive care in Derriford where many further procedures, scans and medication were used to control the swelling to his brain and save his life.
Craig’s wife and childhood sweetheart, Chloe, has been by his side every step of the way and said there were points over the past month where things looked very touch and go.
“Once his brain injury became stable and safe enough the spinal team began to focus on the spinal trauma. This involved a nine hour operation to stabilise his spine which went according to plan but unfortunately due to the severity of his spinal injury Craig remains paralysed.
“Craig is now out of intensive care and is on the neurological ward in Derriford awaiting further treatment, which will be the start of his long journey of rehabilitation.”
With both Craig and Chloe self-employed and Craig currently awaiting a bed on a specialist rehabilitation unit, the financial pressures are beginning to show. As a result, Chloe has launched a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise the £75,000 needed to fund Craig’s rehabilitation process.
With Craig and his brood of four brothers - as well as sister, Lucy - well-known and loved members of the farming community, support has been flooding in and the page has so far raised over £24,000 in 48 hours.
Describing the ‘rollercoaster of emotions’ she has felt over the past month, Chloe says she is overwhelmed by the support her and her husband have received so far.
“I cannot find the words to say how truly amazed and taken aback I am by everyone’s generosity so far to support my amazing husband in what has been the hardest month ever.”
Farm safety and minimising the risk of incidences is of great concern for the industry at the moment, with agriculture topping the list in terms of number of fatal injuries.
Latest figures from the HSE showed that 33 people were killed in agriculture across Britain in 2017-18, highlighting the severity of the issue.
“Farm accidents are something you’re always aware of, but never imagine happening to you,” added Chloe.
“This is the start of a long journey but with everyone’s support it really is helping to make things that little bit easier. Craig would always be the first person to help and support people so it is so comforting that so many people have found it in their hearts to help us.”
To make a donation to support Craig visit: www.gofundme.com/smn3qr-craigs-recovery