Today, our very own Scott Gibbons, founder and owner of Sunshine Weddings, visits the inspirational and brave, Spanish wedding photographer David Toms on the fifth anniversary of David’s life changing road accident.
They talk about life and how far David has progressed, both mentally and physically since he suffered his unforeseen bike accident which left him paralysed in all four limbs.
Hi David, five years on since your life changed dramatically, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the date?
If I’m brutally frank, trauma and pain is what comes to mind. I was just riding along on my bike, at a mere 30 km/ hr, obeying all the rules, when boom! everything flied everywhere and my whole life was turned upside down in the blink of an eye.
I remember lying there worried about the wedding I was going to do, in fact when the ambulance crew arrived, I remember telling them that I didn’t have time to go to the hospital, I was a photographer and I had a wedding I needed to go to, I couldn’t let the bridal couple down.
At that stage I didn’t know I had a broken neck, but I couldn’t move so I knew something was seriously wrong.
After the accident you spent almost a year in a specialist spinal injury hospital in Toledo and then in a residential facility in Granada, from there we organised a big campaign to “Bring David home,” which received a fantastic response from the community and was covered in the local press and all over social media.
With the help of the funds raised, you were moved to a specialised care home in Alhaurin de la Torre, in Malaga. After a time in Alhaurin, you were relocated into a private apartment, currently in Mijas, with specialised carers that look after you almost 24/7, tell us a bit more about your daily routine?
I’m well looked after, the carers pretty much work a 12 hour day, but their shifts get broken up, they need time away from me too.
My day starts early, one of the carers helps to get me up, cleans me and puts me in my chair. Though I can’t move much, there are things I have to do during the day. Then they repeat a similar routine in the evening, they get me cleaned up again, feed me and then they put me back to bed.
Right now, it’s currently noon, and I’ve just been given a banana and a therapeutic massage on my legs to help stimulate the blood flow, which also helps relax my tense muscles. In fact, as I don’t use my legs, my right leg, which has less movement than my left leg, is actually shrinking and is the thinner leg.
I do have minimal movement though, I can talk, and the miracle of it all is that I have a left arm that sort of works, it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me and I have a left leg that I’m working on.
Since moving to Mijas, your life has, once again, taken a turn, I believe you have met someone very special?
Yes, I have met someone special, a truly inspirational woman, who, like me, is also in a wheelchair.
The crazy, yet amazing thing about my accident has been meeting her, without doubt one of the only good things to have come out of this, she’s an amazing woman who suffered an unfortunate fall from a horse which left her paralysed too and has been wheelchair bound longer than me, but doesn’t need the help of any carers to look after her.
What inspirational message would you like to give to those who perhaps find themselves in a similar situation to yourself?
In life, you have to focus and make the most of the things you can do, not what you can’t do.
Life isn’t about reaching the top of the financial ladder and owning a multi-million pound house, I’ve met people from all backgrounds that have ended up like me. It can happen to anybody, walking down the road, walking down the stairs. I’m actually very fortunate that I can move a leg, move an arm, talk, and that my brain works, it wasn’t crushed thanks to the good helmet I was wearing. But perhaps, most importantly, I can still laugh and love and feel the love from others. So I would tell everyone that life, no matter how difficult it can get, it’s still life and life in every shape and form is worth living.
And you’ll find there is a lot more you can do once you accept your disabilities, acceptance is actually very satisfying. I could sit here all day and be negative, but there is no point in that, all it achieves is to make yourself feel bad.
Is there anything you would like us to say to the community, to the people from the biking world, people from the wedding industry who you may not have been in regular contact with, but have supported you when we have put charity events together etc?
Well, yes, you find out who your friends are. I think it’s been amazing the way some people in particular have stepped up, offering incredible and unfaltering support, all of which has been very touching.
I would also like to highlight the incredible support I’ve received from my family. My accident didn’t just affect me, but all my loved ones too. My parents were deeply affected by what happened to me and my brother flew out from the USA to care for me for the first nine months following the accident.
I also have two children who I’m immensely proud of. My daughter, Saffron, is currently studying arts education which includes photography in Barcelona, sharing my artistic passion and also my love for Spain, and I’m hugely thrilled for my son, Connor, who, from a very young age has had a love for forestry and is fulfilling his dream working in the Lake District forests.
On behalf of the Sunshine Wedding team, a huge thank you, David, for giving us an inspirational insight on how you are, the progress you are making and your endless positivity which continues to shine in everything you do.
If anyone wants to get in touch, David is still on his same number (+34) 690656120 or send us an e-mail and we will make sure to pass it onto David.