Tauranga motorcyclist 'blessed' for second chance at life
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When Regan Gallagher's body landed on the tarmac near State Highway 2, he knew things weren't right.
"My leg was up behind my back. I knew it was bad."
Gallagher, 38, flew several metres before smashing on to Maketu Rd after the motorcycle he had been riding was involved in a crash with a car. The collision happened on a Sunday afternoon, five minutes from his home.
A week later , Gallagher is recovering in Tauranga Hospital. The KiwiRail driver lost his lower right leg and very nearly his life while lying on that roadside.
"I remember thinking as I'm flying through the air: 'I've been riding bikes all my life, and finally I'm one of those guys who has had an accident'," he said.
Gallagher said bystanders, including an off-duty doctor and nurse, kept him alive by "pulling me back through, yelling 'stay awake, stay awake'."
"I heard them saying 'yeah, his leg's gone' but it didn't bother me. I think I knew this was bad news."
Gallagher was later told he lost 15 units of blood from the crash. If it were not for donated blood, he would not have survived.
Gallagher has since thanked each of his rescuers, but has not been able to track down a "young kid" also there holding his hand as he faded towards unconsciousness.
"I remember him yelling at me 'come through, come through, don't go'. I've finally tracked down his number through Facebook and will give him a ring."
Gallagher said the support he and his wife have received was "absolutely amazing" but also left him "emotional".
"I was a bit of a shy, alone sort of guy. I didn't realise how many lives I've touched," he said.
Gallagher is likely to have more surgery on his leg and will stay in hospital for a couple of weeks before going home. In a couple of months, once he receives a prosthetic, he looks forward to returning to Papamoa Crossfit.
"I love swimming and a lot of outdoors things - hiking and all that. I'm looking forward to the challenge. It sounds silly but I just can't wait to get this stage out of the way. The surgery. The pain.
"I've got something to do with my life now," he said.
Gallagher said the crash was a "blessing in disguise" and felt his dead grandmother was looking out for him, he said.
"I'm not a religious person but ... I've haven't got hardly a scratch on my body," he said.
"I just feel like I'm going to do more with myself and I've got something more to achieve because of this second chance."
Despite his lust for life, Gallagher pauses when asked if he'll ever ride again.
"Driving past the intersection might give me the heebie-jeebies. I don't know.
"I'm not angry in any way. It was an unfortunate accident."
Gallagher hoped his experience will help save other lives.
"I've always donated blood quite regularly ... everyone asks how can they help, please give blood. I don't need the help [anymore] but give blood, it will help so many other people."
If you or someone you know would like to donate blood, please make an appointment at the Tauranga Donor Centre by booking online or calling 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325). More information is available at www.nzblood.co.nz.
-Bay of Plenty Times