Today, Dr Sebastian Kola-Bankole, a Nigerian-born London doctor, thanked well-wishers who donated almost £200,000 to cover his treatment while he was in coma since February 15, and fighting for his life after being hit by a lorry in Las Vegas where he had gone, for a friend’s wedding.
He had no travel insurance so his family was faced with paying for his mounting medical bills. This prompted them to launch a GoFundMe campaign for him. Today, he gave an account of how the money has helped pay for operations on his spine, ears and arteries – as well as a specially-arranged flight back to the UK – to put him on the road to a full recovery.
Speaking from his north London rehabilitation unit, he said: “My best friend Alex told we had the GoFundMe and he told me how much was raised and I just burst into tears because it was so overwhelming. He explained what it meant and how it had spread all over the world. I just cried tears of joy.
I had no idea the world could be so nice. I don’t use Twitter, but I heard there was even a hashtag using my name that was trending." He said he regretted not taking out travel insurance before flying out to the US after deciding he could not afford it - and urged others not to make the same mistake.
His words: "I need to tell people don’t be like me. It might seem expensive but it could definitely help in the long run. The costs needed to get me back were astronomical. It could happen to anyone. What I did probably anyone has done. I’m not a person that would normally do such a thing. .
Yes it’s my fault but everyone makes those kinds of mistakes. I’m overwhelmed and completely speechless. All I can say is thank you very much. The generous donations will not go to waste. Every day I’m getting stronger."