THE parents of a carpenter from Grove said they are in a “living nightmare” after their son’s dream holiday ended in a horrific accident.
Ryan Elson, 29, is in a critical condition in hospital in Thailand after an accident while riding a moped. He has broken his nose and jaw, needs reconstructive facial surgery and doctors have told him he is likely to lose an eye.
Family and friends at home in Oxfordshire are now scrambling to raise money for his treatment – after being told he had not taken out holiday insurance.
Dad Rob Elson, at home in Wantage, said: “He is clinging on to life. He was 50-50 for a while. We’re in an absolute living nightmare.
“My wife Sharon flew right out there and so she is at his side. He knows she is there.”
Mr Elson, a self-employed carpenter and former King Alfred’s pupil, had spent the last four months in Thailand.
The crash happened on Monday on the island of Koh Lanta. Mr Elson was taken to the mainland and then straight to Phuket.
His family have also been told he has fluid on the brain and was in an induced coma last week.
His dad said: “The phone rang on Tuesday, and when the phone rings at 5.30am you know it’s not good news. He has had a massive head injury. And although they are doing all they can, they think he’s going to lose his eye.”
Mr Elson is still unable to speak because of the hospital tubes, but has written messages to his mother. His first sentence was simply “what happened?”.
To date, his treatment has cost £10,000 and is likely to mount up the longer he stays in hospital.
His father said he was paying whenever needed, but that could not last much longer.
A Facebook group has been set up with more than 300 members and plans for a charity evening.Cash is flooding in from businesses, pubs and restaurants and friends pledging donations from skydives and other challenges.
Collection buckets were handed round at a football game in the village this weekend and friends at the Bentley’s Cellar Bar in Wantage and the Bay Tree in Grove have been raising money.
Mr Elson said: “The response has been tremendous. Without even asking, his friends have helped however they can.
“I know we told him to get holiday insurance but now is not the time to think about that.
“If this can be a warning to others, then it should be. We just want our son to get better.”
Mr Elson also wanted to pay tribute to the friends in Thailand who were helping his wife cope, his family, son’s girlfriend Yam, family Pip and Dom, and to neighbours including Val Belcher.
He said: “You don’t know how much someone is loved, until something like this happens.
“It’s broken my heart.”
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