Marathon effort going into crash recovery

16:00, Mar 27 2014

Every week in Fast Forward, the Waikato Times revisits people who have made headlines in the past. This week, Belinda Feek catches up the McDaid family who were caught up in a serious road crash.

When Patrick Mc Daid pulled over to let an emergency services vehicle pass him, he never thought it would be rushing to a crash that would turn his world upside down.

He'd just finished work for the day on October 16 2009 as an accountant at NDA Engineering in Te Rapa.

He continued home, not thinking much of the emergency vehicle speeding off to a possible accident.

But when he got home, neither his wife, Rebecca or their 18-month-old, Finn, were home.

"I thought that was unusual for a Friday night and I knew Becs and Finn had headed into Te Awamutu," Mr McDaid told the Waikato Times from near London, where they are currently living, earlier this week.


"I tried calling her mobile and nothing. I then thought about that (emergency) vehicle and thought I would head out and try and find them."

However, Mr McDaid only got as far as his front gate when he was confronted by a man who told him about a serious crash involving his wife and son.

By the time he got to the crash scene, Finn had been airlifted to Waikato Hospital by the Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance and his wife was "pretty banged up and not really conscious".

Mr McDaid was then taken to the hospital to visit his family, but after about an hour it was decided to send Finn to Auckland's Starship Hospital after concerns that he may have been suffering bleeding on the brain, while Mrs McDaid underwent a marathon 13-hour surgery for serious injuries to her legs.

Once at Starship, Finn was admitted into the intensive care unit and issued with his own dedicated nurse.

The next morning, Finn had progressed well enough to move into an ICU ward where he remained for several days until being discharged.

However, Mrs McDaid's injuries were more severe with her having to spend the next two months in hospital before being discharged just before Christmas.

Mrs McDaid still has a limp, has undergone about 15 operations but has been able to walk with the aid of a walking stick for the past nine months.

As to the cause of the crash, Mr McDaid said the Waikato Serious Crash Unit investigation deemed one of the cars crossed the centre line, but couldn't determine why. No one has been charged over the crash.

Since the crash, the couple have also added to their family. Son Dylan will be three years old in June.

And apart from a scar on his forehead, Finn is just a normal five-year-old boy.

Mr McDaid's latest mission is doing something to help Starship Hospital after what they'd done for his son.

About August last year he noticed a tweet from the hospital asking for people to run the London Marathon on April 13 to help raise funds and despite not being much of a runner, he put his name down. The race is now only three weeks away, and he's raised nearly $2000 but hopes the public will help him reach his goal of $5000.

"I had always wanted to run a marathon at some time in my life and being given the chance to run for Starship after everything they had done for Finn, was obvious, especially given we were over in the UK."

Mr McDaid and the rest of the family moved over to near Birmingham just over a year ago for his work as a sales consultant for his Matangi employer Tamata Nurseries, which is expanding its export market for Japanese maple trees.

But, in a year's time they'll move back to their Te Pahu home and to that road which nearly claimed the lives of his beloved wife and child. The website to donate to Mr McDaid's Starship Hospital fundraiser is:

Waikato Times