BOXING Day will always be remembered as the day James Ball's life changed forever.

What is usually a happy time when families swap presents and relax was filled with pain and anguish last year after the 69-year-old collapsed at home and broke his neck.

The dad-of-two was left paralyzed from the neck down and remained in York Hospital's intensive care unit until April before being moved to Sheffield Northern General to continue his miraculous recovery.

His son, Jamie, 25, vowed to raise money for the York unit by running a series of long distance races, culminating in next month's Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.

Jamie, of South Bank, York, has already completed the Great North Run and the Liverpool, Leeds and Humber Bridge half marathons to raise nearly £7,000 for the ICU.

He said: "My dad's being moved to a place called Woodlands (Neurological Rehabilitation Centre) soon to get him up from a hospital environment to a homely environment.

"There's progress being made by my dad but his injuries won't change.

"It's being talked about what will happen after Woodlands but there's an eventual aim that he does come home."

Jamie says his dad knows all about his challenge, and says he appreciates the pain his son is enduring.

He added: "He's quite proud that I've decided to do this.

"I keep telling him this is what I have done and how it went, and how much I've raised, and he is happy with that.

"He said it's a great idea and the staff are really thankful for what I'm paying back.

"I'm a bit nervous about the marathon but I did it last year and agreed to do it again, so I must have enjoyed it.

"I want to beat last year's time and it's always nice to run through your home town."

Last year, 6,100 runners tackled the route around York and into the surrounding countryside, contributing an estimated £1 million to the local economy.

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