A Ballarat family has been left facing huge financial costs as their son recovers from a debilitating fall.
Charles Edwards, 21, fell down a flight of stairs during a night out with mates in central Ballarat on July 30 about 3am.
He was left unconscious and fighting for his life.
Now, movement and speaking have become difficult for Charles, meaning there will be untold hours of rehabilitation ahead.
Charles’ parents, Michael and Joanne Edwards, received the call from police everyone dreads as a worst case scenario.
Late at night, they were told he was in a serious accident, unconscious and needing urgent medical attention in order to survive.
After ambulance officers arrived at the scene a decision was quickly made to call a helicopter to fly him to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne.
The 21-year-old former St Patrick’s College student spent nearly two weeks in a coma, before he finally woke up.
His parents and younger brother Oliver, who is 19, spent a lot of that time at his side.
The relief that he was awake was tempered by impaired movement on his right side.
Charles’ uncle Luke Rieniets said his nephew was a ripper young kid, who would fight back.
“There was a great sense of relief to know he is back and he is here with us still,” he said.
“Up to last Saturday they weren’t sure, and his parents were told a couple of times to expect the worse.
“He finished VCE three years ago, he goes to the gym, so he is very much into keeping fit and healthy.”
Charles was an apprentice at Laser Electrical, while also working part time at Rebel Sport to save for his first house.
Now the cost of rehabilitation will be the main focus.
He also did not have ambulance insurance, further compounding the financial cost.
Mr Rieniets said Charles’ parents wanted to thank the community for their support.
“They wish to express their appreciation for all the support, prayers and good wishes they have received from family, friends and people who know Charles,” he said.
“They especially wish to thank the police and ambulance crew who, within a 15-minute time frame, arrived on scene and had Charles on an air ambulance to the Alfred Hospital.
“Without this outstanding response, Charles would likely not be with us today.”
The St Partick’s College community has also rallied behind the family.
Community development director Paul Nolan said senior staff had contacted the family to offer support, while students were also making plans.
“We will rally our community behind him,” he said.
“Our old collegians run a partial care program and we will be in touch with the family in the coming weeks to offer more assistance.”
A GoFundMe page was set up and had already raised $4000 on Thursday.
The page can be found by searching Charles Edwards through the website.
“Any contribution is most appreciated no matter how little it is,” Mr Rieniets said.