Dan's on the move
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
DAN Horton may never walk again, but he will maintain his independence after passing his driving test in Brisbane yesterday.
Determined not to let being paralysed from the chest down hold him back, Dan took the wheel of a modified car on the streets of Brisbane and got the result he was looking for.
Dan has limited movement in his arms and hands following a motorbike accident last November.
But after some practice and the help of modern technology, Dan will be able to take to the streets behind the wheel of a car once again.
'It's awesome. It was pretty full on, I've never even driven in Brisbane before my accident so it was pretty busy,' Dan said from Brisbane yesterday.
Dan's next goal is to trade in his ute for a car that can be modified to allow him to drive when he gets back home to Gladstone.
'I can't wait to get home, I'm starting to get really excited,' Dan said.
Dan's father Derek said while there were still more hurdles along the road for Dan, getting his licence would no doubt make his goal of getting back home that much easier.
'It was hard for him to get back on the road, especially in Brisbane, but he's really determined with things like that.'
Meanwhile, renovations have begun on Dan's family home in Gladstone to prepare for his return.
To most it looks like a regular construction site, but for Kathy Horton it is a huge step towards having her son Dan back by her side.
Such has been the response towards Dan's plight, that locals have volunteered to do the work necessary for the Horton household to accommodate Dan's injuries and get him back to Gladstone.
Dan was paralysed from the chest down after an accident last November and now requires customised changes to his Gladstone home to accommodate his injuries.
He has spent the last seven months in Brisbane and is itching to get back to Gladstone to be with his friends and family.
Speaking with The Observer from Brisbane yesterday Dan couldn't hide his obvious excitement at the prospect of coming home.
'It's great, especially with the house started now, I'm all ready to come home now and can't wait,' Dan said.
The work being done on the Horton household includes a new room and living area for Dan in a location that he is able to access.
Dan's mum Kathy said she was overwhelmed by the support, with many of the builders and contractors donating their time and materials free of charge.
It means the $50,000 project will cost the family a great deal less.
'We are so grateful I don't know how we as a family can express how much it means,' she said.