A CARE worker who lost his leg in a road crash says he is “completely overwhelmed” by the support he has received.
Life changed in an instant for Curtis Buca when he was knocked off his motorbike in the collision on the main road to Yate from Bristol.
The keen amateur footballer’s right foot was severed and he broke his knee, thigh, pelvis, collar bone, ribs and hand.
An air ambulance critical care team flew in by helicopter and fought to save Curtis’s life before he was taken to Southmead Hospital.
Surgeons had to amputate his right leg up to the knee to save the rest of the limb and he was in the intensive care unit for 11 days after the collision, which happened on the A432 Badminton Road at Nibley on May 22.
Curtis, who was on his way to an appointment with a client in Yate, has undergone several more operations and has now moved from Southmead’s orthopaedic trauma unit to a rehabilitation ward at Weston General Hospital.
His girlfriend Stacey Hitchens set up an online donations page to raise money for a blade-style prosthetic leg, so that Curtis can be active again, to fund equipment and adaptations he may need to aid his recovery, and to ease the financial impact of losing his nine-year career.
As the Voice went to press, the page had raised more than £15,000.
Curtis can no longer do the physically demanding job he loved, or continue to be a platelet donor – he had donated more than 100 bags – after receiving 10 bags of blood himself.
Stacey has also left her job, as she was unable to take paid leave to help Curtis, and as a result the couple have had to move out of the flat they shared in Emersons Green, and face rebuilding their lives from scratch.
Curtis has no memory of the collision or the next four days, but soon realised how badly he was injured.
He said: “I knew it would change my life completely, however I was not considering all of the negative impacts.
“I just knew I was so lucky to be alive, and grateful for the amazing doctors who worked so hard to save me.
“The skill of the multiple doctors who put me back together as best they could was outstanding.
“Every single person did their jobs so well, and were so kind to me, and attentive. I love the NHS and I wouldn’t be here without it.
“I have lots of options for the future.
“I loved my job but I will continue to help people in other ways. Once I have recovered and got to grips with my new way of life then I aim to be a mentor to amputees in the future.
“I have had to move home but I have a fantastic family, great friends and a perfect girlfriend who are all there to help me recover. I’m lucky to have a great network of people.”
More than 500 people have made individual donations – some are friends and contacts on social media but many others are strangers who have heard Curtis’s story, including bikers and dance music fans.
Curtis said: “I am completely overwhelmed by the support I have received.
“So many lovely people giving up their hard-earned money to help me is just wonderful.
“I want to thank every single donor for their generosity – it has made me cry multiple times with happiness.”
Stacey said: “We want to make his recovery as easy as possible.
“He used to play football twice a week and he wants to get back to doing that, as well as walking our dog, Ruby.
“His employers at Prestige have given him the option of a possible office job but that’s not him at all – he’d rather find something he can do to continue helping people directly.
“He’s expected to be in hospital for eight to 12 weeks and it’s going to be a long process of recovery, but he’s lucky he’s alive and had no head or spinal injuries.”
The fundraising page can be found at gofundme.com/f/curtis-recovery-from-accident-and-leg-amputation.
*Avon and Somerset police arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of careless driving causing serious injury and drug-driving in connection with the crash that injured Curtis.
A spokesperson said the driver had been released under investigation.
The collision happened near The Swan pub, in a 30mph section close to the Nibley Lane junction, at about 4.50pm. Badminton Road was closed for more than four hours afterwards
Police are appealing for anyone who thinks they witnessed the collision or has dashcam footage to call them on 101 and quote the incident reference number 5223 119 312.