Limavady man 'praying for a miracle' after twin brother was told he'd never walk again following scrambler accident
The family of a Limavady man are praying for a miracle after an accident at a motocross track left him unable to walk.
Dean Doherty (26) suffered spinal injuries after falling from his scrambler. He was subsequently airlifted to Belfast, where he is recovering from surgery.
However, doctors have warned he may spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
But Dean's twin brother, Aidan, who rushed to the dirt-bike track at Magilligan the moment that he heard about the accident, said no one in the family was prepared to give up hope.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Aidan told how he realised very quickly that his brother was in serious trouble when he heard that firefighters had summoned an Irish Coast Guard helicopter to move the seriously injured man to hospital.
"I was at my girlfriend's house when my father called to say Dean had been hurt at the motocross practice track, and I thought he might have come off the bike and broke an arm," he said.
"But when my mother said a helicopter was on its way, I knew Dean was in big bother.
"I arrived at the field and Dean was just lying there, saying nothing, but he was conscious.
"The ambulance men were just fantastic. It was them who called the helicopter - they knew it was too dangerous to drive down that track with him.
"I went to the hospital with Dean and stayed that first night with him. I don't think I was allowed to, but the nurse said, 'I'm not going to separate the pair of you'.
"We are very close - it is tough having to leave his bedside knowing that he is in so much pain, but Dean is a very positive man and you can't give up. You have to pray for the miracle.
"Dean had an MRI scan and surgery, so they know that his spinal cord hasn't been severed, so it's not as bad as it could be. But they have told him that he won't walk.
"Dean is really positive, it is just the way we are. He said to me, 'We will just have to get on with it. I thought I was going to die there'.
"Since it happened last Sunday, I have been contacted by so many people telling me not to give up hope. (These were) people who were told they would never walk again, but they are walking, so you have to believe that it is possible Dean will walk."
Dean endured a gruelling eight-hour operation at the Royal Victoria Hospital, during which surgeons tried to repair the damage caused to his spine.
His family are preparing for the long and uncertain road that he now faces.
"We don't know what the future holds for Dean at the minute," Aidan said.
"For now, he is in a lot of pain and is recovering from the effects of the operation.
"But when I look back at how he was on Sunday to how he is less than a week later, I can see progress. I will do whatever needs to be done to make him walk again. He's my brother."