A FAMILY today revealed how they avoided tragedy for the second time when their son ended up in a coma after being hit by a van.
Schoolboy Jack Hunter had to be airlifted to the RVI in Newcastle when he was knocked off his bike in Easington Lane.
The 11-year-old suffered bleeding on his brain, two broken bones in his ankle and tissue damage to his elbow.
The youngster, of Queen Elizabeth Drive in the village, also smashed some of his teeth, with others going through his lip.
It came just as the family’s life was returning to normality after younger son Tyler, now eight, battled through childhood cancer to be given the all-clear.
Mum Michelle Maddison, 28, who is also mother to the boys’ sister Kaci-Mae, four, said: “For us, it was hell. Absolute hell.
“We have had some dark days in the past but it was really bad.”
Jack was enjoying his summer holidays playing out with pals when the accident took place in Elemore Lane, less than half a mile away from his home.
Michelle stayed by his bedside in the intensive care unit at the RVI as he lay in a coma.
He woke up within the week following the accident, on August 6.
Michelle said: “At one point, the doctors told us that we would have to do everything for him, so to see him five days later feeding himself was brilliant.”
It was the second major trauma to befall the close-knit family, after Jack’s younger brother Tyler was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour in June 2006.
Then a toddler, he battled through operations and chemotherapy sessions and has now been cancer-free for five-and-a-half years.
Jack now faces a number of hospital appointments as doctors continue to assess what damage has been done to him.
The youngster is still prone to feeling tired following the ordeal and is having problems with his short-term memory.
“He’s going for an MRI scan on October 11 and that should show the scarring that’s inside his head,” said dad Gregg, 31.
Jack, who started Hetton School earlier this month, is now keen to get back enjoying activities with Eppleton Scouts.
“He loves rock climbing and abseiling with the Scouts, but he is going to be restricted in what he can do for the next year,” added mechanic Gregg.
“He is determined to get back to normal though.”
The family added that they want to thank all of those who helped Jack at the scene of the accident, including police and paramedics, as well as neighbour Les Todd, who tended to Jack before the emergency services arrived.
Michelle, who works for Gentoo, said: “If it wasn’t for the Air Ambulance, Jack would not be here now.”
“Everybody has been absolutely fantastic, we can’t knock anyone,” said Gregg.
l A 49-year-old man arrested on suspicion of careless driving has been released on police bail until October 16.