Family fundraising to get Morpeth teacher back home after accident in Thailand

A fundraising appeal has been launched to help bring a Morpeth woman home after she broke her back when a balcony collapsed.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 31st December 2021, 3:36 pm
Jill Dodds, from Morpeth, who suffered spinal injuries after a 20ft fall from a balcony in Thailand.
Jill Dodds, from Morpeth, who suffered spinal injuries after a 20ft fall from a balcony in Thailand.

Jill Dodds suffered serious spinal injuries, including a crushed vertebrae, when she fell 20ft from a balcony she had been standing on taking a photo.

Jill, originally from Morpeth, has been working in Thailand for the last six years.

But tragedy struck on December 18 when she was with friends and colleagues at an end-of-term party, leaning on a fence with a friend to take a selfie when it gave way, with both plunging to the ground.

Jill Dodds with her mam, sister Katie, sister Nicola and Katie's youngest daughter Isla at Christmas 2019.

Her friend suffered a broken collarbone, while Jill was rushed to hospital where she has undergone an operation to place metal rods in her spine.

Jill, 47, currently has no movement in her legs, with some movement in her arms but no control of her hands and fingers.

Now her family and friends have launched a fundraising campaign to bring her home for further treatment and rehabilitation, with nearly £28,000 raised so far.

Her sister Katie Breeze said: “It was a shock when we heard about the accident, it was hard to take it in, then we felt helpless as she was so far away and we couldn’t be with her and help her.

Jill Dodds with her mam Susan.

"The first few days were really tough, not being able to speak to her or see her. We were just getting bits and pieces about her medical situation.

"We didn’t know what was happening or what the long term damage is.

"She has no mobility from the waist down, no feeling in her legs, she can't use her hands, she can't move her wrists.

"Jill has started having more jolts in her legs, which is a good sign, and is slowly regaining more use of her arms.

"She has her friends over there supporting her, and they are giving us daily updates.”

Jill is in a Thai government hospital, in a private room receiving 24-hour care, where her insurance has covered her for treatment up to a point.

Katie said: “We want to get her home to start physio and be with her family.

"A friend set up the Go Fund Me to help with her hospital bills and cover the costs to bring her home.

"It’s taken off, so many people have commented and donated, we can’t thank them enough.

"Some people have offered to hold fundraisers or donate prizes that can be used in raffles.

"It’s been a real community effort to help us.

"Everything is up in the air with regard to travel and getting her home, whether she can use a wheelchair on a commercial flight, if she needs joining by a doctor and a nurse. Worst case scenario is if she needs an air ambulance.

"It’s changing daily with her condition.”

Katie added that Jill had planned on returning home in November but her plans were curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, instead returning home after Christmas.

"She was looking at Easter to come back to the UK but that’s all changed now,” she said.

“Jill has loved working out there but was missing family and wanted to be home.”