Tatura man John Betts adjusting to life as tetraplegic following shearing accident.ESTELLE GRIEPINK July 2, 2014 3:44am
Tatura man John Betts with his partner Patrice Bergerson and dog Tat. Mr Betts became a tetraplegic following an accident last year.
Every little bit helps when you are living with a disability.
It is something Tatura’s John Betts knows all too well.
Mr Betts, 47, has just received $7000 from Youngcare, an organisation that helps people with high care needs live at home instead of in aged care.
The father-of-three became a tetraplegic after he was injured in outback NSW, where he was working as a sheep shearer.
One of the animals kicked him under the left eye and the force broke Mr Betts neck.
Six days later, his body went into spinal shock.
He collapsed, suddenly paralysed from the neck down.
‘‘You can break the bones in your neck and walk around for days, months, years even — until it actually hits your spinal cord and your body goes into spinal shock,’’ Mr Betts’ partner Patrice Bergerson said.
‘‘It took about a month before one of John’s fingers moved slightly.’’
After six months of rehabilitation in Melbourne, Mr Betts slowly gained some movement in his arms and fingers.
But returning home to Tatura was a challenge in itself.
Occupational therapists said the family needed to move into a bigger house that was adequately heated and could be fitted with ramps and rails.
‘‘We didn’t even see the house before we moved into it because we were away for six months, we saw it through emails,’’ Mr Betts said.
‘‘The (Tatura) community moved things from our old house to this one, so when we came here, we felt like we were visiting ourselves,’’ Ms Bergerson said.
‘‘Tatura’s been great with the support they’ve given us.’’
Adjusting to Mr Betts’ disability has been a learning curve for the whole family.
It can take him three hours to get ready in the morning and the family needs to check if places have wheelchair access before heading out.
‘‘We can’t really get in the car and just go places anymore,’’ Ms Bergerson said.
‘‘Until you’re in the situation, you don’t know how hard it is.’’
Nevertheless, Mr Betts said he was determined to live as normal a life as possible despite his wheelchair.
On weekends, he still heads out to watch his children Bailey, 9, Keagan, 13, and Cody, 15, play football.
He’s also training his puppy Tat to be a sheepdog.
‘‘John’s trained heaps of sheepdogs before, but this will be the first one he’s trained from a wheelchair,’’ Ms Bergerson said.
‘‘We named her Tat after the wonderful Tatura community who have helped us so much.’’
Mr Betts has also decided to head back to work.
‘‘Before I hurt myself I was coming back as a manager at a sheep farm in Murchison,’’ he said.
‘‘Now, I’m going to come back as a caretaker.’’
‘‘Knowing John’s situation, the boss has just been unbelievable, we can’t thank him enough,’’ Ms Bergerson said. ‘‘It’s given John something else to focus on.’’
Mr Betts and Ms Bergerson thanked Youngcare for the grant and said they were planning to use the money to upgrade their bathroom.
‘‘The cost of having someone with a disability is just huge — John’s wheelchair cost $15
‘‘Without these organisations that provide this funding, we would be lost.’’
Emergency services are attending a gas leak on Casey St in Tatura.
Yarrawonga Pigeons dynamo Craig Ednie has won his third consecutive and seventh in total Chronicle Award after another brilliant season in the Ovens and Murray Football League.
It has been a successful year for Bega Cheese, which reflects on Tatura Milk Industries, with chair Barry Irvin announcing recently that Bega Cheese’s normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $55.7 million and normalised profit after tax of $22 million.
FORKLIFT driver Hayden Moore has a hairy issue, and a lofty ambition.
MORE than 50 years of regulation have taken their toll by reversing the natural flow patterns of the Campaspe.
CFA called to farm fire
Avenel celebrates its sporting heroes
Tocumwal Lions Club has plans to purchase the Bowling Club site for an aged care facility, which will only happen if the merger between the Tocumwal bowls and golf clubs proceeds.
THE Heathcote community is readying itself for the official opening of the Heathcote Health Primary Care redevelopment.
Three Cobram teens have been arrested by police after they allegedly stole tractors from Cobram and Tocumwal and caused about $30 000 in damage.
Rhinos make strong impression in MVCA’s division one comp.
Free entry is being offered at this year’s annual Lancefield Show to support the fire ravaged community.
The Catholic Education Office will provide assistance to any refugees from Syria and Iraq who wish to settle in the Sandhurst Diocese.
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