Despite suffering injuries last May that left him paralysed from the chest down, Cookstown man Steven Collins has not lost hope of walking again.
The father-of-one severed his spinal chord in three places and was left fighting for his life after falling three stories from a balcony at Coagh Crescent flats on May 14, 2016.
And although bed-bound until recently, the former Karro worker, has remained positive through it all.
Following his fall Steven was in a critical condition for “a long time”, and was placed on life support while battling multiple life-threatening injuries at hospital in Belfast. But his little brother Joe said he “managed to remain extremely positive” and has since gone from “strength-to-strength”.
Before the incident Steven was an avid gym-goer, and now that he is able to sit in a wheelchair, has transformed his hospital room into a mini gym, complete with weights and stretch bands to improve his strength.
Nicknamed ‘the big friendly giant’ Joe said Steven believes one day he will walk again. But in order for that to happen he needs a treatment, in which stem cells are taken from an umbilical cord, mixed with his own bone marrow and injected into his spine.
But at £30,000 the cost is out of reach for his family.
In a bid to “help get Steven back on his feet”, Joe set up a JustGiving page in a bid to raise money for the operation.
But, in order to give Steven, who’s in his early 30s, the best possible chance at regaining the use of his legs doctors recommend the treatment is carried out within a year.
“It has been tough,” Joe told the Mail. “But Steven has been incredibly mentally tough. He’s actually quite positive at the moment and we are trying to keep that up.
“He still remains in hospital because he fell ill during his operations. It was only really recently that he has been able to start doing physio.
“He’s been in there a long time, but instead of sitting feeling sorry for himself he’s researching what he can do.”
Now that he is out of bed and into a wheel chair the family are looking to the next step in his recuperation. This means trying to raise enough to send him to South America for the stem cell treatment.
“The best chance of the surgery working is if it happens within a year of the incident, which is fast approaching,” Joe added.
But he said “without JustGiving it’s not even a possibility”.
If you would like help Steven get back on his feet, the link to follow is here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helpstevengetbackonhisfeet