December 1, 2019
Less than 24 hours after Rory & his sweetheart said “I do”, disaster struck.
Rory would fall head over heels again. Only this time, there was no fairy tale ending for Rory and his partner of seven years, Karen ("Kaz").
The young couple had just returned to New Zealand from a three year OE to be wed at the family bach in Matarangi. Spending some time in Nicaragua, Kaz took up surfing lessons. On reflection, after what happened the day after their big event, Kaz jokes, “Rory should have taken lessons too!”
On 29th November 2015, the new groom decided to catch some early waves with his cousin while Kaz popped into town to run some errands. Rory went to stand up on his surfboard but it slipped out from under him. Falling headfirst onto the seabed below, he heard a big “crunch” but managed to get himself up again. Rory immediately felt pains running up and down his right arm. “At first I thought I was having a heart attack,” he says, “Then I realised it was the wrong arm for this to happen.”
Despite Rory’s accident he was incredibly lucky that day. His uncle, a back surgeon along with two cousins, also back surgeons, identified a severe neck break and a risk of tetraplegia. They called for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Kaz returned to find Rory, ashen faced, lying on his bed, surrounded by family, and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter on the way to help. An emergency helicopter ride, for her and Rory, had replaced the plan for the ‘day after’ lunch party.
Rory was flown with great care to Middlemore Hospital to get the specialist help he needed. Rory suffered a severe neck break. “He was 2mm from becoming a tetraplegic”, his uncle says. “Travelling the windy roads to get help would have been disastrous,” Rory says, “I am very grateful the Westpac Rescue Helicopter could be there for me that day.”