When Bunbury’s Jack Symons heard about the tragedy which struck down close family friend Lawson Smith he knew it was time to repay an old debt.
Mr Smith, 20, has been in an induced coma at Royal Perth Hospital since falling off a skateboard and cracking the back of his head against a pavement on Christmas Day.
Immediately after hearing about the accident, Mr Symons, who suffered similar injuries when he came off a motorcycle in 2007, jumped into action, setting up a website to accept donations for Mr Smith and his family.
“When I was younger and dumber I hit a roundabout on my bike going much too fast, ” Mr Symons said.
“I was in a coma for two weeks and had a stroke and multiple seizures as a result of the crash.
“I was in hospital for around four months and the Smith family were a massive help to my family in our time of need.
“They had a number of fundraisers to support my family while they were in hospital with me and also provided significant emotional support.”
Despite the best efforts of the Smith family and his friends, Mr Symons was unable to afford proper rehabilitation after his accident — a fate he hopes to help Mr Smith avoid.
“I basically had to teach myself to walk and talk again from scrat-ch, ” Mr Symons said.
“It took me six months and although I believe I’m mostly recovered now, I can tell I’m not the same person I was before my crash.
“Lawson’s injuries are a lot worse than mine were and I just want to provide him with every opportunity to recover as best he can.”
Mr Symons has been overwhelmed by the response from the local community, his website collecting more than $6000 in the first 24 hours it was active.
“Nearly 100 different people have donated to Lawson online, it’s been fantastic, ” Mr Symons said.
“I also shook a tin on Australia Day for him and collected nearly $1000 in just a few hours.”
The website, http://www.indiegogo.com/thelawsonsmithrecoveryfund, will accept donations until the end of May.
“I was in a coma for two weeks and had a stroke and multiple seizures as a result of the crash”