After working at the mines and living in Mount Isa for 10 years, in 1995 I visited my siblings and niece in the Illawarra, Wollongong.
One Saturday morning my sister, her daughter and I drove off to meet up with the Illawarra Cockatoo Train ride when our lives changed forever. Along the way we were involved in a serious car accident where I lost one leg, the other leg was badly disfigured plus a few other things and spent four months in four different hospitals.
This is where my sister became my carer, as well as working part time and being a mum. Caring for me and supporting me over the years. Many of you would know what is involved with being a new amputee and everything that goes with being a carer too.
It continues to be a journey still all these years on.
Unfortunately I could not return to work and decided to live back in the Illawarra. I have always been and still do love listening to the 50’s and 60’s music and watching many movies as well as following my favourite football team, The Roosters. I was fortunate enough to be able to drive an automatic car which gives me some independence.
My sister and I were introduced to SAFF (Support Amputees Family and Friends) Illawarra and became members. We have found the people in the organisation very caring, kind and helpful, as they too have been through trying times just like us. They were able to pass on their knowledge and experience as being amputees and carers, which gave them the ability to be able to support us, which we were and still are very grateful for.
In 2015, my sister was diagnosed with a neurological condition where she had to give up helping me, leave her part-time work and surrender her driving license. The role has kind of reversed now, the least I could do is support her where I can, with driving her to some of her local appointments, do some shopping for her and drop in to see her if she needs help with anything that I can manage. It has bought to me a better understanding not to only be an amputee, but to help care for someone else and feel more useful as an amputee.
You know we never ever did get to go on that Cockatoo Train ride.