A dad of two is facing months of recovery after saving his young son from the force of a 13-foot fall over a balcony, according to a GoFundMe set up for the family.
Brad Lewis and his 8-year-old son, Oscar, were playing with a Nerf gun at a friend’s home in Sydney on August 4 when one of the darts flew over a first-floor balcony. Oscar ran over to the railing to see where the toy had gone and quickly lost his balance, causing Lewis, 42, to race over to save him. But both Lewis and Oscar fell over the banister and plunged toward the concrete driveway below them.
Quick-thinking Lewis took most of the impact by keeping Oscar close to his chest to protect him.
A friend of Lewis’, Beau Worthington, rushed to his side, and said all the father could muster after the fall was, “Are the kids okay?” “Don’t let them see me like this,” and, “Don’t let me die, mate.”
Lewis experienced a fractured skull, brain bruising, a fractured vertebra and a series of other injuries. He now faces six to 12 months of recovery. Oscar was momentarily knocked unconscious after the fall, the Daily Telegraph reports, but escaped serious injury thanks to his father.
A picture of Lewis on the GoFundMe shows a series of 45 staples aligning his skull, stretching from his left eyebrow to the back of his head. An update reveals he is out of the intensive care unit and is now in the hospital’s head trauma facility. He is expected to have the staples removed next week, but doctors said he will remain in the hospital for an extended period of time.
“Doctors have expressed their astonishment that Brad is in fact still alive having sustained the injuries that he did,” the GoFundMe reads. “If not for Brad’s heroic actions it is unlikely that his son, Oscar, would have been so lucky.”
Yet, the ordeal has deeply affected Oscar, as he now sleeps with six pillows around him out of fear he may fall out of bed, the fundraising page states.
Lewis, a former officer in the Austrailian Army and is a deep-sea diver, also has a 6-year-old son, Connor, the Telegraph reports.
“[He] always spent his days supporting others, giving more than he gets, putting smiles on faces, and being a loving family man,” the GoFundMe’s organizers write of Lewis.
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Lewis’s wife, Susan Bennet-Lewis, has taken a leave of absence from her job to take care of their children and to be by her husband’s side.
The GoFundMe — which has raised $65,000 in just over a week — hopes to provide some relief for the family’s medical and household bills, and the expenses that will accumulate once Lewis is out of the hospital and receives in-home care.
“While the family are still trying to come to terms with what happened,” Annie Kendall, one of the donation page’s organizers, writes, “they are so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from their family, friends and the wider community — many of you they don’t even know.”