A YOUNG man has spoken of his remarkable journey of recovery after falling from a hotel balcony in Magaluf and being told he would never walk again. 

Now over one year on, two operations later and after an intense period of rehabilitation, Josh Meakin, 24, is fighting back.

His horrific ordeal unfolded on the first day of his holiday to the popular resort in May last year.

Josh, who splits his time between his girlfriend’s place in Thornton and his parent’s house in Castleford, says he’d had a couple of drinks when he plummeted backwards 35ft to the ground from a balcony. 

“I don’t remember anything until I woke up in hospital,” he said.

“I woke up and I could see my legs - I just couldn’t feel or move them. The doctor came around and told me I had fallen from the balcony.

“I thought he was lying - I was in shock. I asked for my phone to ring my mum - she thought I was joking, but when I burst out crying, she realised it was serious.”

Then came the devastating diagnosis from medics - Josh was told he would never walk again. He had a broken back, a torn spinal cord and a head injury.

“It felt like my world had been shattered,” he said.

“I was in a really bad place - I didn’t think I wanted to be here. I was just distraught, especially when they told me I would never walk again - it’s not something a young lad wants to hear.

“You don’t realise how much you take walking for granted.”
Josh’s heartbroken parents flew out to him and at one point during his first surgery, they were told it was touch and go whether he would survive as he’d lost a lot of blood and needed six pints through a transfusion.

While he pulled through, the op didn’t go as hoped, so Josh was faced with the prospect of flying back home for a second operation at Leeds General Infirmary.

He was carried on to the plane in a neck and back brace so he could get back to the UK for surgery to give him a better chance of walking again.

After a week in hospital, he then had to spend two months at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield for rehabilitation. It’s a period he describes as being difficult, having to make a monumental effort in his bid to walk again.

But there were milestone moments which he never imagined he would reach.

“The first time I stood up on my own, I felt amazing,” he said.

“Even just to stand up - I had been laid in bed for seven weeks without getting up. I felt powerful then.”

The next major moment for Josh was when he walked for the first time.

“I had bars at the side of me, but I could walk. It was just amazing.”

While it was a huge step forward, Josh still feels the impact of his ordeal.

For longer distances he is still in a wheelchair, has had to give up his job as a printer at Keighley firm Reflex and has lost a lot of his independence - but it’s a far cry from the devastating blow he was dealt in the days following his fall.

He says his left leg is pretty much back to normal, but he has no movement or feeling in his right leg and has to wear a brace. He also has a metal back.

“I’m trying to get used to it, but it’s hard. I do have really bad days where I just don’t get out of bed, or wake up in pain and think ‘why me?’ he said.

“I try to forget it - I want to forget it. I’ve been going to counselling - it’s helping a little bit, but talking about it sometimes brings it all back up.

“You never know what’s around the corner. I feel grateful for what I’ve managed to achieve.

“I feel proud of myself.”

He credits his family and girlfriend of one year with helping him through the difficult times.

Speaking about his girlfriend, Dana, he said: “She’s my rock. I don’t know how I would have got through it mentally without her.

“She helps to keep me positive.”

Josh is now hoping to take on an ICT apprenticeship and start driving again - though it will have to be in a modified car.

“It’s a different life,” he said. “But I can manage.”

He now wants to warn others to be careful around balconies when on holiday, particularly if they are low.

Foreign Office advice for Brits travelling to Spain includes a specific warning on balconies in light of a number of deaths as a result of falls.