A teenager who has astounded medics by re-learning to walk and talk after surviving a horrific car crash has personally thanked the aircrew that saved him.
And Evan Sweet joined family members and friends of the family for part of a trek to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
The Ellington resident suffered serious head injuries in a road collision at Lynemouth on November 29, 2014.
The life-saving intervention of GNAAS meant he was swiftly treated at the scene before being airlifted to hospital for further specialist care.
His parents, Brian and Wendy Sweet, were unsure if he would pull through and kept vigil by his bedside. Finally after nine days, they were given a glimmer of hope when they were told by doctors that he was ‘unlikely to die’.
There was a further breakthrough when his brother, Drew Sweet, played a cover of Mad World by Tears for Fears and Evan’s eyes flickered.
Nearly two months after the crash, he emerged from his coma and since then the 19-year-old has endured a long recovery.
Slowly, he regained his sight and use of his right arm so he could communicate using a tablet. He then learned to walk, aided with a stick.
Nine months after the crash, he eventually returned home.
He recently joined Brian and Drew for the last stretch of a fund-raising walk along Hadrian’s Wall.
Now, Evan, along with his family, has had an emotional reunion with the medics who were at the scene of the collision to thank them for the role they played in saving his life.
They also handed over more than £4,600 raised through the trek to the charity.
Brian said: “The fact that the air ambulance was able to attend the scene is the only reason Evan survived.
“Our family cannot find the words to express our gratitude. We are forever in their debt.
“This is something that at one point we could have only dreamed of. We were unsure if he’d be blind, in a wheelchair or whether we’d have to feed him for the rest of his life.
“The doctors said we’d be lucky if we got 80 per cent of him back and now look, we’re there.
“We constantly said to Evan during his fight for life that we’d never complain about the noise he always made around the house as this is part of being a family.
“Who’d have thought we’d be in the situation that we’re in today? Someone is looking out for us, that’s for sure.
“You have to appreciate what you’ve got in life and never take anything for granted because facing the loss of a loved one is the worst experience imaginable.
“We hope these funds will allow GNAAS to help someone else like they’ve helped us. We pledge our long-term support to such a worthy service.
Their new goal is for Evan’s speech to improve and for him to become more active.
As well as GNAAS, the family has praised everyone who has been a part of Evan’s recovery – including the Walkergate Park Rehabilitation Centre and Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Air ambulance paramedic Andy Mawson said: “Evan has amazed us all.
“This is one of the call-outs where I am certain that without the help of GNAAS, he simply wouldn’t have survived.
“It has been brilliant to see him looking so fit and well.”