Doctors in intensive care couldn't believe Brad Lewis, 42, from Sydney, Australia, survived the fall at a friend's house on Saturday August 4 while playing with his son.
Eight year old son Oscar had fired Nerf gun bullets at Brad and when they missed, he ran to a first floor balcony to see where the toy ammunition went.
But the youngster lost his balance, and, seeing what was happening, hero dad Brad lunged to grab his son – but in the horror moment, Brad's speed and weight carried both of them over the balcony and they landed on the concrete below.
During the fall, Brad- a former army officer and deep-sea diver – pinned Oscar to his chest and curled around him, taking the full force of the impact on his head.
And even with his horrific injuries, Brad told his friend: "Are the kids ok? Don't let them see me like this, don't let me die mate."
Both father and son were treated by paramedics at the scene before Brad was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious condition.
Brad sustained major head and neck injuries, cracking his skull open, bruising his brain and fracturing his C6 vertebrae.
His recovery is expected to last for another six to 12 months, and he has now been moved from ICU to a head trauma unit.
Son Oscar was concussed, fractured his skull and suffered bruising on the brain, but has been released from hospital.
But the young boy continues to suffer from shock, as he "will not leave his mother’s side and now sleeps with six pillows around him from fear of falling out of bed", a family friend said.
Brad is now facing the reality of a long and painful recovery – and while his wife, Suz, has taken leave from her job to care for the family, the household bills and mortgage repayments are rolling in, as well as travel costs to get to and from the hospital, and in-house care solutions when Brad comes home.
Family friend Annie Kendall set up a GoFundMe fundraising page, where she said: "The last thing the Lewis family needs right now is financial stress. We are looking to raise $150,000 to cover as many of these costs as possible for a period of 12 months.
"Let's all dig deep and support Suz, the boys, and their heroic dad in their time of need. The sooner the better."
The online fundraiser has already raised almost a third of its goal, and has been inundated with messages from well wishers.
One person wrote: "Mr. Lewis you are what real daddy's are made of. I pray to God a full recovery as life is not ready to lose a daddy like you."
Another added: "What a truly courageous and terriyfing experience for you and your family… Your wife and boys are so lucky to have you in their lives."
"The real character of people is revealed when they act without thinking. Brave and selfless trying to save your son without though for the consequences to you," one well-wisher said.
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