A fundraising campaign has been launched to help a music teacher get back on stage after he suffered life-changing injuries in a road crash.
Saxophonist Chris Toon, 32, is a regular performer with the Gatepost Theatre Company in Loscoe and teaches students from all over the county at Derby Music Centre.
In June, he suffered a motorbike accident which left him with multiple broken bones and paralysed from the chest down.
His colleague Rachel Richardson said: “The accident was not anyone’s fault, the back wheel of Chris’s bike started snaking and he knew that he would have to do something.
“He had the choice of ploughing into a group of cyclists or taking himself into a ditch. He chose the ditch, saving the cyclists but severely injuring himself.”
She added: “Even now, he says he’s glad he took the option he did.”
Chris is undergoing rehabilitation in a Sheffield hospital, but his determination to get back to teaching and performing is spurring him on.
Rachel said: “It was one of the first things he asked the doctors after accident: could he still play?”
In the absence of a close family support network, his friends and colleagues have launched a fundraising campaign to help pay for a special standing wheelchair.
Rachel said: “We set a £15,000 target for the chair, which would allow Chris to eventually get back to conducting his ensembles.
“But so many students, families and strangers have been so generous that we’ve passed the target. Chris is tottally overwhelmed. Now we’re hoping to help pay for his home to be adapted and other inevitable costs.”
She added: “It’s really struck a chord with musicians all over the East Midlands too.
They can feel what it might be like to lose the ability to do what we love.”
• To learn more about the campaign and donate, go to http://bit.ly/2hlOEbt.