Alex Johnston has assisted in raising funds for his school footy friend, Kurt Drysdale, to renovate his house after he suffered a spinal injury in a Rugby League match which left him as a quadriplegic.
“Drysdale was in an accident playing footy for Cabramatta a couple of years ago now and unfortunately he broke his neck and he is a quadriplegic at the moment,” Johnston said.
“Following his injury he was at the Royal North Shore Hospital to start then he went down to Wollongong. Throughout this whole time his family have been trying to renovate his house so he could one day move back home and after a couple of years and a lot of people helping to raise money, the house has finally been built.”
Drysdale moved home a couple of months ago and since then Johnston has been visiting his mate on a weekly basis.
“I try to visit him as much as possible, about once a week.
“He got back a couple of months ago and he is loving it and it’s a lot easier to see him than going down the Wollongong. He is enjoying being close to the family and having more of that freedom.”
The house is his family home where he grew up and the renovations included a full knock down of the one storey place that was then built into a two storey property with separate living quarters.
“A lot of people volunteered and donated their time which is awesome.
“It’s two storeys and he has the bottom floor. So the bottom floor is catered to his needs with ramps and the rooms and doors are bigger to fit his chair in.
“There is also a room for his carer and then the top floor is where his parents live but he likes to think the whole bottom floor is his place.”
Johnston explains that the renovations have been made possible through donations however describes that despite their hope of a full recovery, there is still concern for the ongoing medical costs involved in the future.
“Over the last couple of years we have had a lot of fundraisers. A Current Affair have helped out a lot by raising a lot of money. We have also had a few golf days where a few celebrities and footy players would come help out. There are still some more events coming up too.
“Personally I’ve got the GoFund me page set up on my Instagram with the link from my profile to the website. People have been donating just out of the goodness of their heart and offering to help out in any way that they can.
“At this stage we are staying positive that he will be able to recover but at the moment he will be in a wheelchair for a while and that itself costs a lot of money. To have carers 24/7 throughout the whole year as well is a lot of money so he will need to continue to raise money for the rest of his life.
“Definitely if people can keep helping out that would be great.”
You can follow Kurt's journey through #uniteforkurt or visiting his GoFund me page.