It was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime snowboarding and surfing some of the best mountains and breaks on the planet.
For 20-year-old Jason Apps or ‘Appsy’ as he’s known to his friends, tragedy struck while snowboarding the mountains of Canada in April. Just days before the Angledale local was set to fly to Mexico, an accident dislocated his C4 and C5 vertebrae, leaving him a quadriplegic.
“He’s already exceeded what other people have at the same stage of rehab,” his brother Will said after visiting Jason at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.
“He’s getting a lot stronger, especially in the last few weeks and can lift his hand up.”
A Gofundme page has raised over $67,000 in just two months, with Jason even receiving encouraging words from Canadian 2014 Sochi Paralympic snowboarder Michelle Salt.
“From the Canadian Para-Snowboard team, we are wishing Jason a quick recovery and always here for support,” Ms Salt said.
With his discharge date from hospital set at November 6, friends and family are looking forward to having Jason home again.
“His personality is shining through and he has responded with amazing positivity and hope,” Will said.
The Tathra Sunshine Club Boardriders are hosting a fundraising event for Jason on Saturday, August 27 at the Tathra Beach Country Club.
“Jason and his brother Will have always been members of the club and he’s obviously going through a lot so we thought we’d help out,” club secretary Craig Waugh said on Wednesday.
“My wife and I dropped in to see him in hospital and he managed to roll a hand over, so he seems to be making progress.”
The trip back to Australia was an arduous one for Jason, who was flown home on a passenger jet across a middle row of seats with minders helping him to breathe.
“The Canadian surgeons did a really good job,” Mr Waugh said.