Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
As Jamaicans dust off the vestiges of 2012 to start afresh with the new year, for many, last year will forever be etched in their memories because of the tragic events that snuffed out the lives of their loved ones.
Throughout 2012, the country was rocked by hundreds of stories of Jamaicans who have visited death's door and never returned to tell the tales.
For one family in Hunts Pen, Clarendon, the script almost read the same - except that their loved one, 22-year-old university student Johnross Farquharson, visited but refused to venture inside.
After three weeks in a coma and three surgeries, including a craniotomy, the Johnross Farquharson story of survival has stunned several medical practitioners in Colorado, United States, where he almost met his bitter end.
Farquharson was on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Jamaica last summer when he was flung from the vehicle in which he was travelling after it flipped over multiple times.
"I understand that doctors at the time said it would be a miracle if I survived. They said even if I survived, I would be a vegetable and would not regain my memory," the final-year student at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) told The Gleaner from an apartment in Colorado on New Year's Eve.
After defying death by waking up from his three-week coma, his next challenge was to regain his memory. It would take him one month in rehab before he fully regained his memory.
Since the accident last September, he has been staying in the US, where he has undergone numerous forms of therapy to bring his life back to normal.
He is scheduled to undergo his fourth and final surgery later this month before taking a flight back to Jamaica to complete his studies at NCU.
Farquharson, in sharing his story with The Gleaner, recounted how two months after witnessing the birth of his daughter and completing his final exams for the semester, he left Jamaica on a summer-employment programme. After spending some four months on the programme, he was eager to return to Jamaica to see his daughter, and so, on September 3, he boarded a car which was to take him to the airport.
"The only thing I remember was me waking up in a hospital two weeks later. They told me how they had to resuscitate me. I caught a stroke when I was in the coma that affected my right side, and on top of that, I caught pneumonia.
"I heard that for days doctors kept pinching me on my leg and I wouldn't move," the management studies student recalled.
His cousin Tyrone Henry, also a student of NCU, shared the ordeal that the rest of the family went through in Jamaica as they awaited news on his condition.
"It's a miracle why he is alive. I remember sitting in front my computer one day and got a message from Jermaine (a family friend who was also involved in the accident) telling me that the doctors were saying there was a slim chance that he would survive," Henry said.
"Tears come to my eyes same time, but mi always believe he would pull through. I went on Facebook and Twitter and started begging everybody to pray. In the first stage of recovery, he didn't even remember he had a baby in Jamaica."
Finding out that he was a student at NCU, Henry said his cousin immediately became concerned about his academic life.
"Him ask me if him graduate already and how school. Mi tell him say nuh worry about that because the entire university community know about the accident and was praying for him," Henry said.
A day after his accident, his story was carried in a Colorado newspaper, The Daily Sentinel.
According to the article, Farquharson was on his way to Grand Junction Regional Airport when the vehicle he and three other people were travelling in hit a 400-pound black bear in the wee hours of the morning. He was thrown from the vehicle and suffered severe head injuries.
As he reflected on 2012, Farquharson said he believes it was the prayer of his friends and family that helped him to see a new year.
"A lot of people prayed for me. I don't know if the doctors who were looking after me believe in God, but I do. God has a plan for me," he said.
Farquharson is looking forward to coming back to Jamaica later this month where a gospel concert dubbed 'Survival' is being planned in his honour. He will be sharing his testimony at the concert and said he intends to write a book detailing his miraculous recovery.