JESSICA Collins is scheduled for a move to Royal North Shore Hospital (RNHS) on Tuesday after “amazing” medical staff in Brisbane with her “powers of recovery and positive thought” following a spinal cord injury.
The former Australian surf lifesaving representative has been in Princess Alexandra Hospital since fracturing her C5 vertebra and damaging her spinal cord in a surfing accident on May 31. Doctors have told the 24-year-old she is unlikely to walk again.
Miss Collins’ condition though has improved since a chest infection forced a moved back to intensive care six days after the accident. Her father, Peter Collins, said Jessica was now considered stable for a transfer to the RNSH spinal unit with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“She’s improved immensely,” Mr Collins said.
“She’s eating on her own, all the tubes are out and she’s having better sleeps. She’s had a couple of nights where she’s slept nearly all the way through. She’s lost a lot of the pain, the back and neck spasms have improved. They’ve been amazed by her powers of recovery and positive thoughts here.”
He said his family had “fantastic support” in Brisbane but they were keen to be closer to their Newcastle home and were searching for accommodation near RNSH.
A GoFundMe page, which has attracted more than $108,000, is one of several fund-raisers contributing to Miss Collins’ rehabilitation.
“It’s still mind-boggling for us how people have been so amazingly supportive, leaving us to just look after Jess,” Mr Collins said.
“And just making sure she’s got a good, solid mindset.”
A Redhead Surf Life Saving Club sports luncheon last week and a Jeans For Jess fund-raiser this week at Miss Collins’ former schools, St Joseph’s, Merewether, St Pius X and St Francis Xavier’s, will also help cover costs. Holy Family Primary at Merewether are also running a Jeans For Jess day.
“We’ve had fantastic support up here and there hasn’t been a day go by when she hasn’t had five to a dozen visitors, but down there, among friends and family, and those from the surf fraternity, it will be wonderful too,” Mr Collins said.
“People are seeing the texts messages and what’s on Facebook that Emma [Collins] has been putting up, but to see her in person and understand how strong and positive she is will ease people’s minds.”
Miss Collins’ brother, NSW ironman champion Daniel Collins, helped the Australian surf lifesaving team win an 11th consecutive Sanyo Bussan Cup in Japan on the weekend.
Australian competitors wore ‘Sunflowers for Jess’ stickers created by Redhead club members on their ski paddles.
“The whole team got on board and put the stickers on their paddles and we got a lovely photo with the team lined up with them,” Peter Collins said.
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