Retired lorry driver Mick Tennant sends his daughters a text message every Valentine’s Day to tell them how much he loves them.
But on 14th February 2011 instead of receiving a few special words from him, the family a got a phone call with the horrific news that he had been air lifted to hospital by Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) after being seriously injured in a road traffic accident.
Mick was rushed into the A&E Department at Lincoln County Hospital, quickly assessed and then he underwent a nine hour operation to save his right leg.
His injuries were complex and life threatening, including a compound fracture to his lower leg, severed blood vessels to his leg and foot, irretrievable damage to his calf muscle and a shattered knee cap.
There was also concern about potential damage to his chest and the amount of blood loss.
“Without the availability of the local air ambulance the journey time to hospital would have been significantly longer and with Dad’s injuries being so serious, I dread to think what the outcome would have been for him,” says Tracy, Mick’s eldest daughter.
“As a family, we will never be able to thank the air ambulance enough and without it Dad might not still be with us today,” she adds.
After a nine hour operation, Mick spent a few days in intensive care and the high dependency unit before being transferred to the trauma centre at the Northern General Hospital in his home town of Sheffield.
He then faced a long and painful recovery undergoing 13 operations, numerous physiotherapy sessions and follow up appointments.
The accident changed Mick’s life completely. He never returned to work and, to this day, is unable to walk without crutches.
However, the power of the love that he has for his daughters gave him the courage to walk Tracy down the aisle on her wedding day – just months after he was finally discharged from hospital in 2013.
“Dad used me as his crutch and it’s thanks to the efforts of the emergency services, including the air ambulance crew, that he’s still with us, he’s still standing and was able to manage it,” says Tracy.
“I think just about every girl wants her Dad to be the one to walk her down the aisle and it made a special day an incredibly special day,” she adds.
Every year since the accident Valentine’s Day is a bitter sweet date for Mick’s family.
“On the one hand it’s as though nothing has changed but then on the other hand we remember how we felt that morning, the endless months of treatment and that Dad’s mobility will never be the same again. However if it wasn’t for the emergency services and the quick response of the air ambulance team, there’s the real possibility that he might not be with us today at all and then there would be no Valentine’s messages to either my Mum, sister or myself,” says Tracy.