He went close to being killed in a crash in Italy on June 5 and now, almost two months later, Keagan Girdlestone has shown remarkable fighting spirit as he details the battle he faced.
The 19 year old South African hit a race vehicle on a descent in the Coppa della Pace. Initial reports on social media suggested that he might have succumbed to his injuries, but these proved to be false. He spent over a week in a coma and still faces a long road ahead in his recovery.
“As most of you probably already know, I was in a pretty bad accident 8 weeks ago that nearly ended my life,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “This has been the most testing 8 weeks of my life and the first few weeks were very dark, probably because I was sleeping most of it or have little memory of what happened in those weeks. During that time I was hallucinating and the things I thought I saw make me worry about myself. And the things I apparently said, ‘mum these nurses are trying to f’ing kill me’ – luckily they are Italian and speak little to no English haha.
“Anyway back to being serious. I should be dead. It’s a miracle I’m able to walk, talk (very softly as my vocal cord is damaged) and have brain functionality. Over the last few weeks, since I can remember, I don’t think I’ve ever cried or lost my temper so quickly in my life. I guess that’s what it feels like to have PMS (ladies, am I right?) During this experience of me not having functionality in my right arm and uncontrollable shaking of the left hand when I try to use it, I have begun to appreciate the small things in life. Doing everyday things such as drinking a cup of coffee without shaking and spilling half of it all over myself before reaching my mouth, or being itchy on the left side and not being able to use my right arm to scratch it (thank you for being there to scratch for me Mum) Desere.”
Girdlestone continues by thanking everyone who sent him messages. He said that these have helped greatly, as well as the support he got from his parents.
“There was a night in ICU when I gave up on life and accepted death (I was hallucinating pretty badly),” he wrote. “But I woke up the next morning with my mum over me and I looked into her eyes as she told me ‘everything is going to be okay.’ A blurry vision I will never forget. That is when I knew I had to win this fight, and could.”
Girdelstone said that his father Wayne was also of great importance, reading messages of support left by others and showing him their video clips. He said that this was fundamental in his moving forward.
“I can’t explain to you what a few phrases or words can do, but it gave me strength to get through many tough days. So thank you to the people that didn’t believe the reports about my death and instead prayed for a miracle to happen, because it did. And the words thank you is simply not enough, but that is all I can say.”
In June a funding campaign was established to help Girdlestone and his family cope with the medical costs plus his recovery. He underlined the importance of this and, again, expressed gratitude.
“To everyone that made a contribution to the KeepFightingKeagz Campaign, no matter how big or small, it goes a long way in helping keep my parents in Italy by my side as well as with potential extra medical costs in the future. Thank you very much for the support!”
Girdlestone said that a more detailed update on his current medical condition will be issued in the coming days. For now, though, the Team Dimension Data Continental team rider is managing to keep positive and continue fighting.
“A good friend told me recently that “Life is a beautiful thing. Enjoy it!” And that’s exactly what I plan to do.”
To contribute to the KeepFightingKeagz Campaign, click here.