While socialising with friends, on the Wellington waterfront I received a high level spinal injury from a shallow water diving accident. I fractured C2, C3; teardrop fractured C5, and fractured C6 and severely damaged my spinal cord. I was air lifted from Wellington ICU to Christchurch ICU where I spent 2 weeks before being moved to Burwood Spinal unit. I spent 8 weeks in head traction, to stabilise my break and a further nine months rehabilitation, before being discharged in December 2007, where I continued my rehabilitation in Sunny Tauranga, the heart of the Bay of Plenty.
Initially I had very limited function, but with the process of rehabilitation I gained enough function in my bicep and deltoid in my right arm to have the ability to drive a power chair. During my stay at Burwood Spinal Unit the support I received from my amazing family and the great team there gave me the support and guidance to strive for my independence and a normal life. While in traction you have plenty of time to reflect and during this time I came up with the idea that allows people of all ages, with physical and mental disabilities and impairments the ability, the access, and the opportunity to enjoy and partake in salt water recreational activities, such as charter and day fishing trips, to experience the simple pleasures of the ocean.
Prior to my accident I have experienced on many occasions the ebbs and flows of emotions that one experiences from fishing. My fishing experience started from wharf fishing with my family as a young boy, to surf casting and boat fishing while growing into a young man. Fishing in all forms teaches many life skills from socialising and bonding, to being able to provide food for the dinner table. This includes the high of catching and landing a fish, the patience required to do this, the low of losing a fish and walking away empty handed, and finally the determination to put the bait back on the hook and the line back in the water.
In my current life I have constant obstacles and challenges to overcome. My frustration with the limited access there is to enjoy my passion for fishing, has inspired me set up a charitable trust. In which the objective is to provide the ability and the access to support and cater for all people with a variety of disabilities and illness. This will be provided by a fully accessible charter fishing vessel, and manned by experienced commercial skippers and knowledgeable crew.
We will be fundraising for this trust through a variety of different avenues, grants/donations from many charitable organisations, from both personal i.e. donations and commercial sponsorship, including the selling of advertising on the boat and on the website which is currently under construction. We as a trust will exhaust all possible resources to provide funding for this charitable trust.
We are currently searching for the right vessel and the right personnel to help achieve my vision. If you are able to contribute, help or support in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone.
We are in the process of forming a shortlist of both trustees and patrons, in which the hub of this charitable trust will be formed. Surrounding this trust with the right people is paramount to the success of my vision.
Thank you for your time.