“I instantly knew I had hurt my neck. I feel lucky to be here.”
In June 2020, Craig’s life changed.
Following a car accident in his hometown in Ayrshire, he has spent over eight months away from home in the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow.
It’s been during this time that we’ve come to know him well.
Although Craig was newly injured, it wasn’t long before he decided to venture out into Horatio’s Garden Scotland.
“It was quite soon after I arrived, about two weeks. I felt like I couldn’t breathe on the ward and just wanted to get outside to feel the fresh air.”
Those early days were a sign of things to come and since then Craig has eagerly embraced the chance to be involved with the garden. He’s joined Head Gardener Sallie amongst the planting at every given opportunity, discovering a hidden talent for horticulture along the way.
“It’s great talking to Sallie and doing activities in the garden. I have loved harvesting and eating the fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly making up recipes with them and sharing what we made with others.”
“We’ve all celebrated a lot too! We carved pumpkins at Halloween, made Christmas wreaths and I also potted a bonsai tree to take home.”
With his signature warmth and humour, Craig has helped to encourage plenty of his fellow patients to make the most of Horatio’s Garden. Not only has he simply invited people to join him for a chat outside, he’s also reassured them that they too can be part of the action.
“The memories that will stay with me forever are just being in the garden, making friends with other patients, and Sallie!”
“I’ll also always remember how much my Mum loved the colourful flowers in the courtyard and sitting in the pods with her when it was possible for her to visit.”
Being able to welcome loved ones to Horatio’s Garden is something that usually happens 365 days a year. However, as patients with spinal cord injuries are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus, restrictions have meant that Craig has been unable to receive visitors for vast swathes of his time in hospital.
Nevertheless, despite being faced with numerous challenges, Craig has been a sunny source of positivity for everyone in Horatio’s Garden and has brightened up many a day in the spinal centre too.
His infectious enthusiasm has helped him to look toward the future and he’s now begun focussing on all the good things held in his next chapter.
“Once I’m home I plan on getting to the gym and trying wheelchair rugby. Besides that, it’ll be great to see my family and my dogs, Marlie and Bruno!”
Whilst Craig will be missed once he leaves Glasgow, everyone will undoubtedly wish him well and it will be wonderful to see where his ambitions take him over the next few years.
He’s certainly capable of doing anything he puts his mind to and thanks to Marlie, Bruno and all his family, there’s a very warm welcome awaiting him (and his bonsai!) back in Ayrshire.