Expectant father now paraplegic after horror bike accident
THIS year was meant to be "full of amazing things" for Josh Young and his partner Kati Stone.
They are expecting their first child together in June, a little girl.
The block of land they bought last year is settling next month and then work on their dream house will start.
But now the Melbourne couple are facing an uncertain future after the 25-year-old boilermaker fractured and dislocated his L1 vertebrae in a horrific mountain biking accident on Saturday.
Partner Kati Stone said Josh has a very slim chance of regaining movement in his legs.
"We don't know if he's severed his spinal cord or what the damage looks like. All we know is it has been impacted and crushed.
"The orthopaedic surgeon said they needed to operate to get the vertebrae off his spinal cord and they did that immediately.
"In two or three weeks he might start to get some feeling back but he's been given a very small chance.
"His injury is quite low down in the spine and that area doesn't heal very well.
"The only benefit is he has his arms and can breathe on his own."
The expectant father was mountain biking with friends at Buxton Mountain Bike Park in Victoria when he crashed.
Kati's brother Benn Gaylor said they had been riding for about three hours and were on their final ride when it happened.
"We were on the last track of the day. It's about four minutes long from the top to the bottom at the car park.
"Me, Josh's brother-in-law and a friend of mine had got to the bottom and were waiting for him.
"We heard a faint cry out but wasn't sure what it was so we waited a few more minutes.
"When we heard another cry out we started heading back up the hill.
"We got about halfway up and another rider was coming down and he said 'your mate's up there and he sent me down to get you, you need to call an ambulance now'."
Benn said when they reached Josh they found him lying on his stomach on the side of the hill, five metres off the track.
"No one witnessed the accident but it looks like he crashed into the track and went over the handlebars.
"As soon as we got to him he said 'I can't feel my legs, I can't feel them, I can't move them'.
It took 45 minutes for paramedics to reach them.
In that time Benn said adrenaline kept Josh's pain away, but only for the half an hour.
"When the adrenaline wore off he was in lots of pain. He said his back was hurting, he'd broken his collarbone and his shoulder was hurting from supporting his weight."
Paramedics administered pain killers and rolled Josh onto a stretcher.
"That was a pretty hairy moment but they did an amazing job at handling the situation."
Benn said it took dozens of them to carry Josh and all the equipment down.
"He was about a kilometre, two minutes from the bottom. We could see the car park from where he was.
"But it took us about an hour to get down.
"When we got to the bottom they put him into the ambulance, then the ambulance drove around the corner to the helicopter."
Josh was airlifted to the Alfred Hospital and later transferred to the Austin Hospital Acute Spinal Unit, where he remains.
Kati said she doesn't know how long he will be at the hospital for.
"He will go from here to a spinal rehab place.
"I don't think he will be home for many months. It will depend on his progress and when he can do things."
While she hopes he will be home before their daughter arrives, she said the baby has given him something to focus on.
"This is Josh's first child but he is like a father two my two kids.
"He is beautiful, a really special person."
Benn paid tribute to his friend calling him a "great, great bloke".
"The thing that is eating me up at the moment is he only wanted to ride the bike because he wanted to spend time with me and James."
A Go Fund Me account set up by Benn has already raised more than $32,000 in three days for Josh and Kati.
Kati said: "To all the people that we know and that we don't know, thank you. It is mind boggling that so many people care. This will really help us."
If you would like to donate you can do so here.