A three-day sporting challenge, for the fight of a lifetime. So that Paul Darbier can one day walk again. The existence of the 17-year-old teenager changed on April 23, 2020. That day, as usual, he left the family home located in Angles (Gard), near Avignon (Vaucluse) to get some fresh air. and play sports. But the exit turns to the drama. “He had an ordinary mountain bike fall. The front wheel hit another bump”, summarize his parents, Caroline and Vincent Darbier. If the young man is equipped with a helmet, his fourth vertebra explodes with the violence of the shock. His spinal cord is affected and Paul becomes a quadriplegic.
The presence of a friend at the time of the terrible accident makes it possible to quickly call for help. Paul is then airlifted to a hospital in Montpellier. In particular, there followed an artificial coma, several operations and long months in intensive care. Then, the young man is transferred to a specialized center in France but nothing goes as planned. “He was losing his hair, his nails were peeling off, his parents observed. Our only way of salvation was to send him to Spain in Barcelona where he was very well taken care of. We cheered him up. But despite all the credits, we had to return to France because we didn’t win the lottery and we have a center of this type, it’s expensive”. Of the total bill, only 50% was reimbursed by social security.
Hope in China
Today, two years have passed. Paul still can’t move any limbs, but he can breathe, move his head, or even blow his nose. He is currently accommodated in a specialized establishment in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
And above all, “he fights”, welcome Caroline and Vincent Darbier. “Paul is in the fight, completes his 18-year-old sister, Marie. With what he is experiencing, it gives us energy to build projects”. Like the now 19-year-old, his family is not one to give up. She hopes to be able to send it to China where a particular technique is offered with often excellent results. “A paraplegic came out walking,” commented his parents. Problem, such care has a very high cost. And so, we have to raise money.
The Avignon family, with its “Vertical Combat” association, then organized several events, including a raffle during which 7,000 euros were donated. Latest idea, a 220 km road trip by bike, from Avignon to Gap with two stages, in Apt and Sisteron, the objective of which is also to raise awareness of disability among as many people as possible, particularly within schools. “I said to myself, we need a sports project. We have been preparing for this for a year,” recalls Marie, who initiated the project with Karine.
Already 5,000 euros indicated
It is this Saturday evening that a dozen solidarity cyclists, students, members of the educational team of the Saint-Joseph high school in Avignon – where Paul was educated and where Marie is registered – or even members of the Angles cycling club arrived in Sisteron (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence). They were welcomed for the night free of charge at the Prés Hauts campsite. “A lot of people who smoke are part of the project”, welcomes Marie, who specifies that 5,000 euros have already been described since the start of the road trip.
The whole family hopes that this figure reaches to climb, to the rhythm of the counters of kilometers and elevation. Tomorrow morning, the cyclists will take the road to Gap (Hautes-Alpes). They will then be welcomed at the high school, named like that of Avignon, Saint-Joseph. The loop will then be closed.
More information or to donate: verticalcombat.fr