By PAULO SILVESTRE
ON FEBRUARY 24, 1998, at 2.15am, Daniel Turyma’s life took a big turn.
While the 19-year-old was taking his girlfriend home, he suffered a serious road accident on his motorbike.
He entered into a deep coma, fighting for his life initially at Faro hospital and then Lisbon’s Garcia da Horta hospital.
Daniel had a glazed look – his eyes would move into empty space – until one day he stared at his mom, his eyes were shining and he smiled. Daniel was back.
Three months and a great deal of hard work later, Daniel surprised everyone.
One morning, when his mother arrived at the hospital, he said to her, in a deep and distorted tone, the word ‘mother’.
After a couple of days, a social worker and a physiotherapist told Daniel’s mother that they were going to send him home. She was perplexed. Daniel could not sit, all his muscles were rigid. He would cry in pain every time they tried to sit him down.
His mother said that if Daniel had to leave the hospital, it was to go to a rehabilitation centre, not home.
After some time, the hospital agreed to do physiotherapy on him. Daniel was like a marionette, he couldn’t even hold his head up.
When they stood him in front of a mirror, he saw himself for the first time after the accident. He kept pointing to the mirror and then to himself and cried.
Daniel did not want to stay in the hospital any longer so, on July 10, 1998, his family decided to take him to his hometown, Tunes, in the Algarve.
Time went by but Daniel did not show any signs of progress. His sister, who lived in Cardiff in the UK, was constantly telling her family to move there and stay with her. So, on January 6, 2002, Daniel and his mother moved to Cardiff.
He started swimming with the help of an instructor and today, with the support of a buoyancy aid, is able to swim and his left arm is getting more movement.
He started to take his first steps with the help of a Zimmer frame and now he can transfer himself from bed to wheelchair and vice-versa, dress and undress and use the toilet.
Since living in Cardiff, his mother exchanged emails with the CIREN Clinic in Cuba, a rehabilitation centre for these particular cases, who recently agreed to accept Daniel for treatment.
But to get there he needs help – his family does not have enough money to pay for the treatment that will cost around 25,000 euros.
Ten years after the accident, Daniel’s family is now appealling for help to give him his ultimate dream – to walk again.
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