Family grateful for support after freak accident in Kleinmond leaves Australian chef paralysed

2019-05-13 16:32
Gareth Flanagan and Leisha Gallucio (Image via Instagram)

Gareth Flanagan and Leisha Gallucio (Image via Instagram)

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Support has been flooding in for Australian chef Gareth Flanagan, who was seriously injured in a freak diving accident in Kleinmond two weeks ago.

Flanagan, 21, had been on holiday with his fiancée, Leisha Galluccio, when tragedy struck while they were swimming at the Palmiet River bridge, about 100km east of Cape Town, on April 25.

He suffered a spinal cord fracture after diving into the river and striking rocks underwater, according to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) which was part of the retrieval operation.

READ: Australian chef, who was on holiday in Cape Town, seriously injured after diving into Kleinmond river

According to a campaign page, which aims to raise funds for his rehabilitation, Flanagan told his father, after being dragged from the water, that he was unable to feel his legs.

The campaign exceeded its initial $15 000 target. By Monday morning, around $17 000 had been donated by loved ones and strangers.

Flanagan is still receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Cape Town.

Gallucio told News24 that it had been her first time leaving Australia on an international holiday.

"I'm so glad that his whole family lives here. I have no idea what I would [do] without them and all their support," she said.

'Grateful' for support

The hospital staff had been "absolutely amazing" and very understanding, she added.

Gallucio was taken aback by the public's response to the accident.

"I'm absolutely shocked and so grateful how much money and support has been raised in such a short time!"

Nine.com.au reported that doctors had told the family he had broken his neck and had a "slim to no chance of walking" again.

In an update posted on Friday, it stated that Flanagan was doing well and alternating every hour between his own breathing and assistance from a ventilator.

"They are hoping to take the tracky (breathing tube) out in a few days and then we will be moving hospitals closer to family for us and start a bit of rehab, just so he is wheelchair ready for the plane, and then finish his rehab in Australia," the page stated.

In a message on Facebook, Flanagan's family thanked everyone for their support and said he was slowly improving.

His father stated in a message: "To our remarkable Gareth, your amazing courage and determination has taught us a life lesson that I will try follow forever. Your family loves you."

(Supplied)

Gareth Flanagan in hospital (Supplied)

Read more on:    cape town  |  health  |  accidents
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