'I dream about going home all the time' - Northumberland teacher's video update on her condition

A fundraising appeal launched to help bring a Morpeth woman home from Thailand after she broke her back during a balcony fall has already raised more than £30,000.

By Andrew Coulson
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 3:16 pm
Jill Dodds with her mum Susan, sisters Katie and Nicola and Katie’s youngest daughter Isla at Christmas 2019.
Jill Dodds with her mum Susan, sisters Katie and Nicola and Katie’s youngest daughter Isla at Christmas 2019.

Jill Dodds suffered serious spinal injuries, including a crushed vertebrae, when a 20ft high balcony she had been standing on suddenly gave way.

Jill, who has been working in Thailand for the last six years, is recovering in hospital and thanked all those who have donated and supported her in a short video message on Tuesday.

Disaster 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.

Her friend suffered a broken collarbone, while Jill, 47, was rushed to hospital where she had an operation to place metal rods in her spine.

Jill’s family and friends launched a fundraising campaign to help with hospital bills and bring her home for further treatment and rehabilitation, and there have been more than 1,000 donations.

Updates are being posted on the fundraising website and in the video message, she showed that she has some movement in her arms and hands, and said her right hand was stronger than her left.

She can move her neck from side to side in her hospital bed and although she can't move her legs, “they like to move themselves”.

Jill added: “Mentally I've had my moments, but I'm positive and determined to get out [of the hospital and back to the UK].

“I dream about going home all the time. I just want to say thank you and I feel lucky that there are so many kind people out there to help people in need.

“I had physiotherapy today (Tuesday) and it helped me sit upright for the first time. I did that three times and held it for 10 seconds each.”

She is in a Thai government hospital, in a private room receiving 24-hour care.

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.

“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 want to get her home to start physio and be with her family.

“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.

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