John Hitchens Jr in the spinal ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital .
John Hitchens Jr in the spinal ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital .

Paralysed and alone: Family’s devastating news

The family of a former Home Hill man who was left alone and paralysed in a Brisbane-based hospital have launched a gofund me page as they receive devastating news about his rehabilitation.

COVID-19 restrictions have left John Hitchens Jnr lying in the spinal ward alone, as his wife, two young sons and other family members were prevented from visiting.

Jess was able to see him for the first time last week, three weeks after he was flown to Princess Alexander Hospital following a horror motorbike crash.

Better known as JJ, John grew up in Home Hill, and had only moved to Logan five years ago with Jess and their two children to care for Jess's parents.

Now the family have been dealt the devastating news that there is a 99 per cent chance JJ will never walk again, changing the way their "beautiful and tight knit family will operate for the rest of their lives".

A gofund me page started by JJ's wife Jess told how tragedy struck on the morning of August 28, just hours after setting up camp at Kenilworth.

JJ and his wife Jess.
JJ and his wife Jess.

"After setting up camp, John and some other dads set off on their bikes through the bush. An experienced and skilled rider, while travelling only slowly, he caught his handlebars on a branch, throwing him over them and into a tree," the gofund me page reads.

"Leaving him lying motionless on the trail, John was immediately aware that something was terribly wrong.

"If it wasn't for the forward thinking of a fellow rider and mate who used his EPIRB to dispatch an emergency helicopter John would likely not be with us today."

JJ has movement in his head, shoulders and some bicep movement and now begins his six-to-18-month rehabilitation journey without his family by his side.

"John, a terrific and hardworking plumber was also the sole breadwinner for this family, and without the income he provided, they must also endure a financial struggle ahead," Jess' gofund me post said.

"While the NDIS scheme will thankfully provide essential services, such as house modifications, they do not provide a suitable wheelchair access vehicle.

"Our goal is to raise $98,000 - the purchase price of such a vehicle, suitable for John and his family. The sooner we can achieve this, the sooner John and his family can get together and enjoy some of the world together again."


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