A YORK man has told how his father miraculously survived after breaking his neck and suffering cardiac arrest in a fall.

James Ball, 69, suffered a complete interruption of his spinal cord when he fell at home in Askham Bryan on Boxing Day and fractured two vertebrae in his neck.

After going into cardiac arrest, he did not breathe for 12 minutes until a paramedic resuscitated him.

The father-of-two and retired Nestle employee has been in intensive care in York Hospital ever since as he needs a ventilator to help him breathe and the accident has paralysed him from the neck down.

But his son Jamie, 25, said the efforts of staff in intensive care have helped his dad and the whole family immensely.

He now plans to take part in a year-long fundraising challenge in aid of the intensive care unit, running four half marathons, the York 10k and the York marathon.

Jamie, who lives in South Bank, said: “ One of the doctors told us that in his 35 years in the profession he had never seen such an unusual injury and without the quick response it would have been a fatal accident.

“Since Boxing Day my father has been cared for in the unit and has been able to take some breaths himself which has been incredible. Any positive we can take from the situation is a big step for us all.”

He said he could not express his gratitude to the staff in intensive care, who had helped his dad and supported him as well as mum Sandra, 57, and brother Dan, 22.

“You know doctors and nurses are great but until you are subjected to such a situation you don’t stop to think about it.

He has run in the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in York and will take part in the Liverpool Half Marathon, Leeds Half Marathon, Humber Bridge Half Marathon, York 10k and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.

He has smashed his £1000 target, so far raising more than £1,500.

His dad is likely to stay in York Hospital for the foreseeable future but is then likely to move to a specialist unit in hospital in Sheffield.

James is able to communicate by mouthing words and remembers the moments leading up to the accident, he said.

To sponsor Jamie, visit http://www.justgiving.com/jamie-ball1