Where it started
Gary Brennan from Thorner, West Yorkshire, was hit by a car while riding his motorbike on Sunday 28 February 2010. He was 51 years of age.
Gary was declared dead at the scene of the crash. Fortunately one of the emergency team realised he was still breathing and he was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary. Gary can’t remember the incident, or being air lifted to hospital – although those perilous moments were captured on film as part of the Helicopter Heroes programme.
Road to recovery
Gary was put in an induced coma and was on a life support machine. Gary had sustained eleven traumatic injuries in the accident. Previously, patients had been recorded as surviving up to eight traumatic injuries, so his prognosis was poor and his wife, Shirley and their four children – aged between 16 – 28 years at the time - were advised to say their goodbyes.
Gary defied the odds and survived his injuries; he was transferred to the Major Trauma Clinic after six weeks.
Over the course of the next nine years Gary had 54 operations, as well as physiotherapy and chiropractic care to enable him to regain his mobility. In a wheelchair for the first two and half years, Gary is now able to walk again. However, he now has to rest after about 100 metres, as he has been diagnosed with acute spinal osteoporosis arthritis.
Together with a handful of other trauma patients Gary advised Professor Giannoudis about how the care of trauma patients could be improved. Their feedback helped inform the creation of Day One.
“Before Day One, patients had to figure things out on their own. We weren’t aware of any benefits we may have been entitled to."
Gary is passionate about the difference Day One makes to patients who experience a traumatic injury – support which was sadly lacking when he needed it the most. "Just having somebody to talk to – whether face to face or over the phone about everything that’s going through your mind – the legal issues, money worries… would have been such a massive relief."
Gary’s now well along his recovery journey and has adapted to a new way of life. He now rides a three wheeled bike and continues to champion the work of the charity at every opportunity.
Gary has also raised money for Day One. In December 2020 he paraded his local area on his bike dressed as Santa, spreading festive cheer and raising over £600.