A wave of support after helping Rotherham Jac

Matthew Wheeler (right) with his little brother Jac Ashurst who was knocked off his bike in September in a near fatal accident. Matthew and his friends will be doing a sponsored sail to rais money for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity to thank them for saving his brothers life''23 October 2012'Image � Paul David Drabble
Matthew Wheeler (right) with his little brother Jac Ashurst who was knocked off his bike in September in a near fatal accident. Matthew and his friends will be doing a sponsored sail to rais money for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity to thank them for saving his brothers life''23 October 2012'Image � Paul David Drabble
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HOIST the sails - little Jac’s on the mend!

A nine-year-old boy nearly killed when he was knocked off his bike is making a slow recovery - and to thank the hospital staff who saved him, his family are planning a sponsored sail across the English Channel to raise much-needed charity cash.

Matthew Wheeler (right) with his little brother Jac Ashurst who was knocked off his bike in September in a near fatal accident. Matthew and his friends will be doing a sponsored sail to rais money for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity to thank them for saving his brothers life''23 October 2012'Image � Paul David Drabble

Matthew Wheeler (right) with his little brother Jac Ashurst who was knocked off his bike in September in a near fatal accident. Matthew and his friends will be doing a sponsored sail to rais money for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity to thank them for saving his brothers life''23 October 2012'Image � Paul David Drabble

Jac Ashurst suffered severe brain swelling, a fractured pelvis and two broken legs when he was hit by a black Peugeot 307 while playing out on Richmond Park Road, Kimberworth, Rotherham, last month.

The schoolboy was in a coma for a fortnight and faces a series of operations, as well as gruelling physiotherapy, to help him walk again.

Jac is still being treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the family are not sure whether he will be home for Christmas.

His older brother Matthew Wheeler, 22, said relatives are planning the cross-Channel voyage for November 16.

He said a 35-foot yacht has been rented ready for the night-time trip.

“I’ve been on a boat before but nothing like this. If we don’t get there I can swim, but it’s a long way back!” Matthew added.

He said Jac is likely to be in hospital ‘for a long time’.

“He’s been in for nearly four weeks and he has physiotherapy that he has to do every day.

“He can talk and his memory is there but he can’t walk. When he came round I asked if he knew how he got to hospital and he said yes.

“He knew what crashed into him, too, but he doesn’t know what happened after that.

“His left leg is shattered, it’s in a right mess.”

Jac was put in a medically-induced coma to help him recover from his brain injury.

“When they took him off that, he was in his own coma,” said Matthew.

“That took him quite a while to come out of. It was the best feeling in the world when he woke up.

“It’s brilliant, what he’s done so far. He’s done so much in so little time. They didn’t think he was going to pull through, but he’s strong.”

He said Jac ‘would have died’ without the efforts of staff at the children’s hospital.

“They’re helping him all the time, constantly doing different things, like reading to him,” Matthew added.

“The doctors are brilliant too.”

Jac’s family are setting sail from Southampton at around 9pm and hope to arrive in Cherbourg, France, 12 hours later.

Travelling with Matthew will be his girlfriend Jodie Jones, sister Emma Wheeler and Emma’s boyfriend Kyle Marsh, along with Jac’s auntie and uncle Lynn and Alan Hanson.

Lynn and Alan are also expected to invite two friends along for the trip.

“We’ve set a target of £1,000 but I hope we beat that,” Matthew said.

The Peugeot driver was arrested following the accident on September 27, but no charges were brought.

* Visit Just Giving Captain Jac to donate.