Duncan Sawyer, with his younger brother Tyla, could be home in four months.
Duncan Sawyer, with his younger brother Tyla, could be home in four months. submitted

Teen's fighting spirit

AS the sideline guest of the Canterbury Bulldogs, Coffs Harbour’s Duncan Sawyer was given the best seat in the house on Friday night and a well-earned break from the rigours of rehabilitation.

The 19-year-old has fought against the odds since February when he broke his neck in a fall from his pushbike, making him a quadriplegic.

In the months since his accident near the Macauley Headland, the Coffs Harbour community has rallied behind his family.

A foundation set up in his honour raised almost $10,000 at a charity event in April, covering the cost of a wheelchair.

Speaking from Sydney yesterday, Duncan’s mother passed on her thanks to generous locals.

“I don’t think we would have got through if it wasn’t for Duncan’s friends, and for me personally my family has been amazing in organising the community support we have received – thank you to the people of Coffs Harbour,” Donna said.

Word of Duncan’s recovery has spread far and wide.

He has been mentioned on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show, and the Men of League Foundation has also got behind the family.

Pulling a few strings last Friday they arranged for Duncan to watch the Bulldogs’ clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons – his first major outing since starting his rehabilitation.

“It was an amazing opportunity for Duncan,” she said.

“After the game he got to meet all of the players in the dressing sheds and the Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan is coming to visit him soon to see how he’s going.”

Specialists say Duncan could be home in four months’ time.

In the meantime, the family is on the lookout to find a special purpose home to rent in Coffs Harbour.

“We are taking small steps at this stage,” Donna said.

“Our priority is finding a home first then we will look at ways to make Duncan more independent,” she said.

“I hope one day he will drive, we are hoping to find him a car but for now we are just so lucky to have him here.”

The Duncan Sawyer Foundation is in the process of setting up an account dedicated to funds for Duncan’s treatment.

In the meantime, members of the community wanting to help out can contact duncansawyerfoundation@live.com.au.

Anyone who may be able to assist the family in finding a suitable home can contact Donna Ford on 0447 899 784.



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