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Crash victim’s tribute to ‘mum’ who saved him
6:10am Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
A HAMPSHIRE cyclist who almost died in a horrific road smash has tattooed the name of the woman who saved his life on his neck.
Carpenter Aaron Denham, 22, wanted a permanent reminder of the life-saving help Maria Brasseur gave him as he lay close to death on the roadside.
When the former nurse ran to his aid he was trying to lift his head and any one of the broken bones in his neck could have severed his spinal cord and left him dead or paralysed.
But quick-thinking Maria, 47, forced him to the ground and stopped him moving by pinning him down with her own body.
His injuries were so severe experienced medics feared the worst and told Aaron’s mum and sister to say their goodbyes.
But thanks to Maria’s life-saving action he not only lived but escaped permanent spinal damage and is able to walk today.
After six months in hospital, Aaron was discharged and got a tattoo of Maria’s name and the date he nearly died under a halo.
Now the pair are friends and meet regularly.
Aaron, of Fair Oak , said: “If it wasn’t for Maria I’d either be dead or paralysed today.
“I get lots of people asking me if this tattoo is the name of my girlfriend but I tell them it’s the name of my second mum.
“I let them know I was at death’s door and Maria saved my life.
“It’s the best way I could think of showing my appreciation.
“Every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded how it feels to have someone around who I owe my life to.”
Maria, a married mum of four, had been pottering at her allotment when Aaron was knocked off his bike in Highbridge Road, Colden Common . She said: “I heard this horrendous bang which sounded like a mass pile-up, so I shot across the allotment and clambered over an 8ft fence.
“I found Aaron trying to lift his head up, so I forced him back to the ground and wrapped my body around his so he couldn’t move.
“I had a foot in his back, a knee between his shoulders and my arms keeping him warm and pinned.”
Aaron was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with serious head injuries, a broken neck, pelvis, ribs, wrist and nose.
He had also severed one of the main arteries in his neck, lacerated his spleen, bruised his spinal cord and suffered a punctured lung. He was put in a medically induced coma in the specialist neurosciences intensive care unit.
His mum Debbie Denham, 48, and sister Leanne, 23, were told his chance of survival was slim.
But after five nights on life support, a slight twitch of the hand marked the start of a remarkable recovery that has astounded doctors.
Just three months later Aaron took his first steps and by September he was discharged.
Dr Andy Eynon, director of major trauma at Southampton General Hospital, said: “When I saw Aaron in the emergency department I didn't think he’d make it.
“He beat the odds just to survive, but to go on and recover as strongly and as quickly as he has is remarkable.”