Saturday 3rd March 2012 should’ve been a normal working day for me. However, this is where my story began.
My name is Jason Cook, a 29-year-old gas engineer from Swindon. On the morning of Saturday 3rd March 2012, I was covering a shift for a colleague so that he could attend a family wedding. I remember it being a clear and dry day, perfect for driving around Wiltshire to repair boilers. I also remember being in high spirits, as I was due to celebrate a friend’s birthday later that evening.
Unfortunately, that is about the only thing I do remember prior to my life-changing experience.
I awoke at the very moment I was being transferred onto a hospital bed at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. Completely unaware to what was going on, or even what had happened, my next memory was the sheer pain I was in. After what felt like many hours of extensive tests, x-rays and CT scans, I was eventually informed that I had been involved in a serious RTC. A 20 tonne lorry had “t-boned” my vehicle at a crossroads in Grittleton, near Malmesbury. The collision had pinned me against a tall stone wall, crushing the entire side and front of the van.
So how did I get from Grittleton to Bristol? This is where the amazing work of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance came in. After an initial assessment by a rapid response paramedic, I was showing signs of possible life-threatening injuries which prompted the call to WAA. They landed in a nearby field, and once I had been cut free from the vehicle, transferred me to Frenchay Hospital in a very short space of time.
My injuries resulted in a shattered jaw, glass cuts and a few bruises. However, the list of potential injuries is frightening. Brain damage, fractured skull, internal bleeding, organ damage, two broken legs...the list goes on! The extremely quick response and travel times of the WAA meant that they were going to make the difference between life and death. I was just 23 years old at the time, I still had so much life to live.
After a total of four days in hospital and two operations on my jaw, I was able to recover and return to work just five weeks later. This is with much thanks to WAA, amongst the other emergency services. I hold a special place in my heart for everyone who works for the WAA, as the work they do is so amazing and ultimately life-changing.
After my recovery, I visited the WAA headquarters in Devizes to meet the heroes that are saving lives on a daily basis. Without funding, this charitable service would not be possible, and they need all the help they can get...don’t we all? To help give something back, I have signed up to play their own lottery each month. I have also signed up to Give As You Live. This means that when I shop online at one of many different retailers, a donation is always made to my chosen charity (WAA)...and doesn’t cost me a penny extra!
We can all help in our own way to keep the WAA flying, after all, I never imagined I would be needing their services...would you?