How a stroke may have saved this dad’s life
DALE Etheridge could have been killed when he suffered a severe stroke and crashed his car earlier this month but the brush with death led to the discovery he was facing another potential killer - leukaemia.
Mr Etheridge was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukamia within days of the December 3 stroke and crash after blood tests detected abnormalities in his white blood cells.
Thanks to the "stroke of luck", the 45-year-old father-of-two is now in hospital with a fighting chance against the silent killer that had been lurking in his body.
Friends, family and strangers have swung behind the Nambour Special School teacher aid and his family following the shock events.
A fundraising campaign to help them out while neither he nor his wife can work has raised more than $8000 in three days.
Mr Etheridge's wife, Lee, said the support and encouragement was giving them strength.
She said her "tough old boot" of a husband faced a battle to recover from the stroke while undergoing chemotherapy but they were just grateful he was alive.
His utility was written off when it crashed into a bridge guard rail on a quiet road a few hundred metres from their home on December 3.
"Fifteen minutes before that, he was doing 100kmh down the highway from Forest Glen, so we are incredibly thankful he didn't have the stroke then.
"He could have been killed or it could have have been worse, he could have killed someone else."
Mr Etheridge's only injuries were a bloodied nose and a bump on the head.
However, an examination found he had suffered a severe isechemic stroke on the right side of his brain.
They will never know if numbness in the fingers in his left hand that he felt a few days before was a sign of the impending danger.
Mrs Etheridge said doctors had been amazed that her husband was still able to walk and talk, given the severity of the stroke.
He still needs to undergo rehabiltation and physiotherapy at the same time as undergoing chemotherapy.
Mrs Etheridge said going from being fit and physically active to a patient battling for his life had taken its toll on her husband.
"But we are trying to be as positive as we can be and be grateful for the things that are going right," she said.
"Up until now, we have been so blessed that I suspect all the crap has saved itself up and dumped on us all at once, so maybe if we can get past this . . .
"We're grateful for a lot of things about the way it's happened, not for the fact it's happened but the way it's happened."
Mr Etheridge has started introductory chemotherapy as a prelude to intensive chemotherapy which doctors hope will stop the disease in its tracks.
Mrs Etheridge is staying in Brisbane to support her husband while their two daughers, Magan, 12, and Audrey, 9, who she said were being very brave, stay with her parents on the Sunshine Coast.
Mrs Etheridge said the help of the Leukaemia Foundation, a raffle by her husband's workmates, donations, and gestures such as lawnmowing had made life easier to bear.
But more important than all of it was knowing people cared.
"The money hasn't made nearly as much difference as the support that everyone's given us," she said.
To help the Etheridge's out, go to gofundme.com/gcesy2g4