Joel Chapman owes his life to a complete stranger and one day soon he wants to shake his hand and say thank you. But first he has some healing to do…
It was only the efforts of the Fraser Island man which helped identify Joel after a near-fatal scooter accident left him fighting for his life in a Bali hospital.
No one knew who the Australian teacher was until Wade Wockner became involved.
The regular Bali visitor had been just a few vehicles behind Joel when he crashed and after he was taken to the emergency ward, Mr Wockner set about trying to identify him from a single piece of paper that had only his first name written on it.
He eventually tracked down the man who had rented Joel the scooter and was able to get his passport details to pass onto authorities.
“A couple of the locals wanted to take him to the hospital in their own vehicle, but Wade told them he would call an ambulance and he stayed with him for a while because there was no one there,” Joel’s father Trevor said.
“We owe a lot to Wade and his wife.
“He was in touch all the time and he actually sat with Joel until we arrived in Denpasar.”
Mr Chapman and his wife Sharyn now know what it’s like to live every parents’ nightmare.
Theirs began on the night of May 7, when they received news Joel was laying unconscious in a Bali hospital with bleeding on his brain after crashing his rented scooter.
The 30-year-old had arrived in the country just two weeks before to begin his dream teaching job and tackle some of the world’s best surfing breaks.
The crash left him with a fractured collarbone and suffering severe head injuries and lacerations.
“It was every parents’ worst nightmare,” Mr Chapman said.
“Initially Joel was just in the emergency ward and if we hadn’t gone straight up (to Bali), I think he probably would have been dead.
“If there is no one paying for your treatment in that ward, you basically don’t get treated because no one is covering the costs.”
Mr Chapman said Joel was apparently wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but it wasn’t done up.
Now back home on the Coast, Joel is still struggling with his short-term memory loss but is on the road to recovery under his parents’ care.
He said he would be forever grateful for Mr Wockner’s help and hoped to visit him once his health improved.
“If you don’t have people over there with you, it’s quite scary to be on your own,” Joel said.
“And it was also good to see Mum and Dad and my sisters. It was good to get some normality back because before that I felt a bit lost.”
Despite the severity of his injuries, particularly to his brain, Joel was able to recognise his family when they arrived at the hospital.
Read the full story, here.
Source: Sunshine Coast Daily