By MEL MARTIN
WHEN, at the age of 42, Steve Buckley was told he only had 12 months to live, the community rallied around to make sure it was a year to remember.
Late last year, Steve Buckley, of Coffs Harbour, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a disease that affects the nerves and has a bleak prognosis.
But as a member of Rotary, it wasn't long before the wheels were in motion to give Mr Buckley, his wife, Sharon, and their three children the chance for some quality time.
"At Rotary, everyone knows each other's pipedream, and so they approached Watsons Caravans who supplied a caravan. FLOT (Friday Lunch on Thursday) loaned a four-wheel drive, and we were on our way," Mr Buckley said.
The trip took the Buckleys to Victoria and South Australia, then up the centre to Uluru and back via Queensland.
"We had an absolute ball," Mrs Buckley said.
"We had a bit of money, which is all gone, but we thought, blow it, there may be no tomorrow, so let's go for it."
And the help extended beyond the accessories.
When the car broke down in Mount Isa, a call from Coffs to Mt Isa Rotary was all it took for the car to get fixed and the Buckleys to become guests of the city, getting a private tour of the mines with the children ? who are not usually allowed in the mines.
"It's the people you meet in different places, and the towns where there's just a pub and nothing else. That's what made the trip," Mr Buckley said.
Mr Buckley is no longer able to operate his IT business and Mrs Buckley has taken 12 months' leave from her job to spend time with him, but they say the support of the community has made it all that little bit easier.
"There's been an incredible number of people coming out to give us support," Mr Buckley said.
Harbour City Swing Band, for which Mr Buckley played the trumpet, also did what they could, providing a wheelchair.
"I got a call one day from one of the band members who said he had this wheelchair that had only been driven by a little old lady on the weekend and did I want it," Mr Buckley laughed.
"And the Minister from the Church of Christ has been there every step of the way.
"We live in a really good town. It's amazing how the Coffs Harbour community rallied to look after one of their own."