Late 2016, just like any other day, Cameron came home from work and greeted his mini poodle, lifting it up for a hug. The next thing he knew he was in hospital and diagnosed as a level 2/3 incomplete paraplegic. Cameron had just suffered a spinal cord injury.
“They say people can sneeze and become a paraplegic,” Cameron said.
“That’s what it felt like for me, it just happened. I was in hospital for two months and could only just manage to walk when I came out. Everything is so different now, I fatigue really quickly.”
Almost two years on, Cameron has come to terms with his injury and is managing with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports and Ozcare.
“I was one of the first NDIS clients in Ipswich and it’s been phenomenal,” Cameron said.
“It’s so important for me to get out and about and not just sit around. I used to run a warehouse, now I can’t drive anymore or lift anything. I’m only 54 and it gets lonely being home by yourself all day. My wife works full-time and all of my friends work.”
A key objective of NDIS is to help people with a disability get out and about and remain an active part of their local community. As Cameron’s NDIS provider Ozcare helps him to do this.
“Ozcare come most days. They take me to physio appointments on a Monday, hydrotherapy on a Wednesday, Thursdays are for shopping and Fridays are often a social outing. Photography is my passion, so we often end up looking at photography equipment, or finding a good place to fly my drone,” Cameron said.
“I really can’t fault Ozcare – I get to see consistent carers which is great as I find it hard to get to know people. I get to see Teena regularly (one of my carers) and she shares my love of photography.”
Teena agrees, “Cameron and I both like photography so often on our little trips it’s what we spend time talking about.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Cameron and I’ll often bring photos to show him. We also like to go to JB Hi-Fi and look at drones and technology.”
Cameron’s life is very different now from a couple of years ago, but he makes the most of it, his resilient attitude is inspiring.
“You’ve just got to battle on. The support means the world to me. Without it I would be stuck here 24 hours a day and I wouldn’t be able to get to my appointments.”
The help has also taken the pressure of Cameron’s informal supports.
“When my injury first happened, my wife was my carer, she had to juggle her caring role with her full-time job,” Cameron said.
“Now that I receive NDIS supports we are so much better off. It has relieved the pressure on my wife, everything’s been done. Weekends are now time we get to spend together, doing things we enjoy like gardening and going to the pool."