Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe
Dan Richards was left paralysed from the neck down after suffering a ‘freak accident’ while cold water swimming on New Year’s Eve.
The 35-year-old day is an experienced swimmer but tragedy struck at the end of 2023 at Langland Bay, near Swansea, after he dived into a wave while swimming.
He told Sky News that the force of the wave ‘just rotated me’ and the back of his head hit the sand, he remembered a ‘loud noise’ and a ‘very bright light’ before opening his eyes underwater.
Having been cold water swimming hundreds of times before, he knew immediately that something had gone wrong.
Dan explained that he could see his limbs but not move them, so he held his breath.
According to his partner Anna Thomas, a wave turned him so he could shout for help.
Anna, her mum and their friend were able to pull Dan from the water and he was airlifted to Bristol Southmead Hospital, where it was determined that he’d been paralysed from the neck down.
Dan has since been moved closer to home and faces a long and difficult journey of rehabilitation ahead of him.
It’s for this reason that Anna has set up a GoFundMe in the hopes of raising some money to go towards supporting Dan and giving him ‘the best quality of life possible’.
Anna wrote that one of Dan’s goals was to ‘continue to be the best dad’ for his three-year-old daughter Hailey and while they don’t know exactly what his rehabilitation will look like, the help that can be provided is much appreciated.
Dan’s partner wrote that they’ve identified a private rehab facility in Bristol that will be able to help the 35-year-old.
Seeking to raise £50,000 on the fundraising website, Dan’s appeal is more than halfway to the goal after over 1,000 generous donors put together more than £32,000 in an attempt to help.
On 26 January, an update on Dan’s condition let donors know that the 35-year-old was able to move his toe, with Anna writing that it was ‘positive progress’ even if it seemed like a small development.
The couple have said that the support they’ve been shown has been ‘overwhelming’, with one of the people donating being ‘a gentleman on a ward upstairs that has heard about our story’.
The money donated in the GoFundMe set up by Anna will ‘contribute to Dan’s ability to access the best rehabilitation to meet his needs and alleviate financial worries’.
You can donate to the GoFundMe here.