Six months after their lives changed forever, the Middlehursts are getting used to a new kind of normal.
Julie and Malcolm, from Billinge, have been by their son Mark’s side since he was left brain damaged following a tragic accident in Australia in November last year.
And thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts of the community they were able to bring Mark home in March meaning they have since been able to go back to work and get used to a new life while still seeing him everyday.
Mark was at the end of a year-long trip and was working in Perth when he was involved in a quad bike crash during a day off.
Julie, a healthcare assistant on the maternity ward at Wigan Infirmary, said: “The journey didn’t do him any good. He had a seizure on the plane coming home and he has had another one since but he is on medication for that now.
“The staff tell me he is not responding as well as he could be. There has not been much change in his tests that they do but on the other hand when we visit now he is smiling all the time.
“In Australia he would smile but not very often. We have not quite figured out what it means. At least it is nice for us to see him looking more content.
“He still can’t eat and he can move about a bit and wiggle his arms and legs in bed but he can’t get up himself or do anything himself really. He requires care 24/7 but he is very well looked after.
“He does look different which is encouraging. His hair is growing back and the staff have said they have noticed a difference in him.
“They don’t really know what is going to happen. They can’t put a time on it they said because everyone is different so they prefer not to say he will be here by a certain time or this is the most he is ever going to be able to do.
“What they did say is that quite often young men do surprise them. They keep saying that to give us some hope but they can’t tell you and don’t want to build our hopes up too much.”
Mark has been at the Walton Centre since more than £50,000 was raised to fly him home and is currently being treated at the Sid Watkins Rehab Centre for complex head injuries.
Julie, 58, said: “It is lovely to be at home and we have had a lot of wonderful support from family and friends. Malc, David and I have all been able to go back to work.
“We are trying to get back to our kind of normal. We’d love to be normal again and I know it is what Mark would have wanted.
“We still go and visit most days and Mark’s girlfriend Caro van Laak has just come over from Holland to come and see him.
“We are still so grateful for everyone who have and continue to support us.”