CRASH SURVIVOR: 'Never give up', says Rocky miracle man
FAMILY and friends of Rockhampton road crash survivor Trevor Heyes already knew that he was a walking miracle, but the moment he crossed the finish line at last weekend's River Run, his strength and determination inspired an entire community.
It's hard to believe that three years ago his wife Susan signed the paperwork permitting doctors at Rockhampton Hospital to amputate both of his legs and also his right hand following a horror accident that claimed the life of his 61-year-old brother, Harry.
The brothers had been riding their motorbikes on Four Mile Road near Kabra when a car collided with them.
Fortunately surgeons in Brisbane believed they could save then 58-year-old Trevor's limbs, and he was flown to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital with serious leg, spine and wrist injuries as well as multiple internal injuries.
The surgeons were right, but after spending two weeks in an induced coma and subsequently undergoing 13 surgeries, Trevor was wheelchair-bound for seven months.
Then when he was feeling better he had to learn all of the basics again, including how to walk.
His rehabilitation sessions were frequent, are still ongoing to this day, and will be for the rest of his life.
It was only about a year ago that Trevor started walking unassisted, albeit with titanium rods inside both legs - they will remain there for life.
"After the accident the doctors said they didn't think that I'd be able to walk again and said I'd probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life," Trevor recalled this week.
"It was just from the support of my family and my determination to get up and go that I made sure I was going to walk."
Remarkably, last Sunday, Trevor attempted something for the first time since the accident - walking a distance.
But not just a short distance - he attempted and completed the 5km walk as part of the 7 Rocky River Run.
"I'm still doing rehab and I still can't walk properly because my ankle is permanently buggered," Trevor explained.
"If I step on a rock I'm (fallen) over, you know.
"But you can't ever give up, you've always got to stay positive."
That in itself describes the magnitude of what Trevor achieved at the Rocky River Run and his daughter Laurena Furber could not have been prouder.
"It was just magical to see what dad did on the weekend really," Laurena said.
"He's come so far from that sheer determination of his.
"To go from seeing him in a coma, to thinking he might not ever walk again, I never thought I'd see what he did in the River Run.
"It's amazing what they (surgeons) can do these days because there would have been a time when they would have had no option but to amputate given the state dad was in."
Trevor said he could not have achieved what he did without the support of his wife, his daughters Laurena and Tamara, his friends, fellow VidaFit participants, and the medical professionals who have assisted in his recovery.
"I've always been strong all my life but when you go through something like this you need positive people around you," he conceded.
The fact that Trevor was in a coma and therefore could not attend his brother's funeral tells you that his challenges have also been psychological.
"That was the hardest part - not going to my brother's funeral.
"Because of that it was hard to get any closure."