Campaign to bring Dan back home
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
AFTER being paralysed from the chest down and spending seven months in a spinal ward in Brisbane, all Dan Horton wants is get back home to Gladstone.
A strong determination has meant the 18-year-old Gladstone man has already overcome several obstacles after a motorbike fall late last year, but now the only thing that matters is getting back home.
Momentum is building within the Gladstone community to 'Bring Dan Home' and make his dream a reality.
Speaking with The Observer this week, Dan spoke of what it would mean to finally get back to his family and friends.
'I have been a lot better lately because I know I'm nearly home,' he said from the Princess Alexandra hospital in Brisbane where he has spent almost every day since the accident last November.
Dan's parents Derek and Kathy have to transform their Gladstone home to accommodate Dan, with the renovations expected to cost well in excess of $50,000.
Dan's condition has left him with limited movement in his arms and hands. He is also unable to regulate his own body temperatre, and requires a special air-conditioning unit.
Dan's dad Derek has lived in Brisbane with Dan since the injury and seen just how strong his son has become.
'He's just so determined, all he wants is to be independent,' Mr Horton said.
'His big driving force right now is to get out of here (hospital) as soon as possible and get back home to see all his mates.'
But Mr Horton is fully aware of the challenges that are ahead.
'It will be really tough for him going home, because it's a bit of a false environment here in hospital,' Mr Horton said.
'But it will good because he can get his own routine again.'
Family friend Veronica Laverick said the family was experiencing extreme emotional ups and downs in preparation for Dan's home coming.
A number of events are being organised to support the Bring Dan Home campaign, but more help is needed.
Anglicare Gladstone has set up a special fund for the campaign, with cash donations the driving force of the project.
Community development officer Andrea Hughes urged locals to get behind the campaign, with every little bit needed.
Tax deductable donations can be made to Anglicare Gladstone.