Approaching the house, you pass a sign that reads 'Wayne's World'. Even without the movie reference, it's evident that Wayne has a whimsical attitude! Greeting us at the door with a warm smile, he takes us on a tour of the garden full of propagated plants and hand crafted plant stands. With a sweeping gesture he refers to the extent of his property at Murray Bridge, all 75 acres of it. He manages the property with his wife. They have neighbours but they are not close.
Wayne had 30 years experience riding motorbikes. In 2014, he was on his way to work when his motorbike was struck by a vehicle in a spectacular accident which left witnesses traumatised and left Wayne with a T6 fracture. His life immediately changed from a promising future in the mill to eight months of recovery and rehabilitation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Hampstead Spinal Injuries Unit.
Popular ABC show 'Gardening Australia' spent the day filming at 'Wayne's World' in 2019. They wanted to share his story of recovery assisted by horticultural therapy program at Hampstead. As a country boy, Wayne understood and connected well to the time spent in the garden and has continued this on his own property, establishing accessible raised vegetable and flower beds complete with chook shed! He loves to nurture the garden as it brings him peace and maintaining his connection with the land he grew up on.
"When one door closes, another opens." At Hampstead, Wayne found the PQSA Peer Support Advocates a great source of advice and someone he could talk to openly. "The PQSA Peer Support Advocates are a huge resource and support for anyone learning about life with SCI".
Wayne was also introduced to PQSA Push Thru program, which connects people living with spinal cord injury in regional areas. The groups get together for meals, reducing the social isolation that can often be felt by those adjusting to spinal cord injury (SCI). They share information, voice concerns or just have a chat. After less than a year, Wayne became a Push Thru Facilitator for the Murray Bridge group and has hosted monthly catch ups, sometimes at his home. He sees the positive impact on participants and is keen to engage more to join the group. "When I spot someone in town, I make a point to let them know about it."
"I am paraplegic, not tetraplegic so I have abilities I am grateful for. Most things are possible, everything just takes a little longer!"
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