As you may know, sustaining a spinal cord injury can happen in an instant, but the effects can change a life forever.
In 2017, Dan was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just before his 26th birthday, he was riding home on his motorbike to Wollongong, just south of Sydney, with four others when a freak accident resulted in head injuries from a falling tree.
“In a matter of seconds my life changed forever.”
He sustained T5-T8 spinal cord injury as a result and doesn’t remember the events following the accident. After an emergency trip to St George Hospital in Sydney to be stabilised, he was transferred to Prince of Wales Hospital for life-saving surgeries and six months of intensive rehabilitation.
It was in rehabilitation when he first met SCIA’s Peer and Family Support Team Leader, Daniel Holt, and his assistance dog Charlie. Over the course of his stay, Dan got to know Daniel, Charlie and other members of the Peer and Family Support Team. Their lived experience, at this critical time, was an invaluable resource for Dan and provided him with the advice and support that he needed.
“An injury like this plays havoc with your mental health…
No question, no matter how personal, was ever off limits with the Peer Support Team.”
A motorcycle mechanic by trade, Dan explored the idea of starting his own business to service and repair wheelchairs. Whilst asking around for ideas he was offered a job with global wheelchair manufacturing company, Permobil.
He says that the job is so much more than changing a wheel bearing, “These injuries have such a massive impact on mental health. The conversations I often have with users of our products are so rewarding. When people see that i can drive and that I’m getting back to kicking goals in my career, it gives them so much inspiration to progress onward and upward post-injury.”
Four years since that day, Dan continues to hit those goals with the love and support of his wife, Jessica and SCIA’s services. Dan attends our exercise service, NeuroMoves, in Clyde NSW, and maintains close contact with our Peer and Family Support Team.
Will you help us provide support and give hope to thousands like Dan?