Carl Champney was just 23 years old in 2003 when he was driving in rural Queensland and an oncoming vehicle ran him off the road. The result was an ABI that left Carl without the use of his arms and legs, and with significantly impaired vision and speech. Although cognitively largely functional, amnesia from the accident meant that Carl could not recall the details of what had happened until more than 12 months after the event – three months after the time limit for lodging a claim under Queensland’s fault-based traffic insurance scheme.
Carl has been living in ABI accommodation for more than 10 years since his accident. Support funding has only covered accommodation over that time, so he has received very little rehabilitation or therapy, and he is not eligible for additional disability or community funding because he is not deemed to be ‘living in the community’. Carl has severe muscle spasticity in his hands and feet, has had surgery to sever constricted tendons, and suffers from debilitating headaches and depression.
In 2013 the JMB Foundation granted funding to Carl for twice-weekly hydrotherapy and the attendant care support needed to allow him to participate in sessions. This is what his care advocate wrote after the therapy was underway.
“I visited Carl in Queensland … and am thrilled to report on the huge changes since I saw him last. Physically, Carl looks noticeably stronger. He has gained muscle strength and sits much straighter and with control in his wheelchair. Most strikingly, his joints have loosened and released, and he is able to now lengthen, straighten and lift his arms and legs. … He reports a reduction in the daily pain felt by the contractures, and a greatly increased quality of sleep.
At the beginning of the hydrotherapy sessions Carl, who has not moved in many years, had ‘no sense’ of his body. … He can now stand upright in the pool and walk for a short period.
Cognitively and psychologically, Carl is in a much better place. He looks forward to hydrotherapy (his only activity in the week) and sees himself now as having an opportunity to focus on the recovery that is possible. For Carl, this sense of purpose and hope is life-changing. He is … relearning that there is life beyond his ‘four walls’.”
The JMB Foundation is very pleased to have been able to help Carl to receive meaningful physical therapy for the first time in more than 10 years. But it is our generous donors who really make this possible. With your help we can, and do, make a genuine difference for young people with an ABI in Australia.