Amazing. Phenomenal. Inspirational. These are the words Stacey Enchelmaier uses to describe the level of community support she and husband Tony have received since a moment last month that changed their lives forever.
On Tuesday evening, May 20, Tony was just minutes from his Mt Coolum home when a Ford Fairmont sedan crossed on to the wrong side of the David Low Way near the Boardwalk roundabout, north of Marcoola, and crashed into his VW Kombi wagon.
Tony was flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital for emergency surgery but doctors were unable to save his lower right leg.
The 33-year-old automotive transmission mechanic and yoga instructor also broke his left thumb, sternum, left foot and right femur.
Stacey said Tony now had three screws in his left foot to go with the two in his right knee and the femoral nail and lock-in screws in his right leg.
“Pain was the biggest setback and had us all rather concerned but I am relieved to say that things are looking brighter now,” she said.
“The staff are fantastic and he has kind of teamed up with a young kid, Dean (maybe about 10 years), who is also a recent amputee. Tony is drawing such inspiration from his enthusiasm.”
Family, friends and the yoga community worldwide have rallied to support the couple but what has surprised Tony and Stacey most is the Kombi Club Australia which has organised, via its website, The Great Whipround for Tony.
The appeal has already raised around $5000.
Stacey said they were not even members of the Kombi Club, though they were devoted owners.
“We’ve had it for 10 years – it’s part of our family,” she said.
She and Tony found it “quite overwhelming” that complete strangers, “but kindred Kombi souls”, wanted to help.
“Tony can’t quite comprehend how people are being so touched by what he is going through but he has now seen a few photos of the accident…and he is starting to realise how serious we are when saying we are so lucky he is alive.
“I still wake with a feeling of immense gratitude daily and was thrilled to be able to wrap my arms right around him today when he was up in his wheelchair.”
Stacey said Tony’s employer, Ron Hill Automatics, and her own employer Ibuki Health and Wellness had been “fantastic”.
“Everyone has been so, so supportive.
“Our daughter goes to the Steiner school up in Noosa and they’ve just rallied with heaps of offers.
“You don’t realise how many people you touch with something like this; it certainly puts things into perspective.”
“Often you feel like there’s something wrong with humanity in the fact that people just get on with their day to day lives and don’t give a thought. But then something like this happens and it’s just an outpouring of goodwill.
“You just can’t fathom that people would just be so considerate and so compassionate. It’s fantastic.”
Stacey said acceptance of their changed circumstances was something that was “unfolding” and probably had “not been quite achieved yet”.
But Tony was upbeat and his message to supporters at home was “look out for me on the Coolum Boardwalk in the wheelchair soon”.
Though Stacey and Tony’s business, Astanga Vinyasa Yoga, was “temporarily on hold”, Stacey said she drew strength from her yoga background.
“The yoga has certainly helped me – having that deeper faith in ‘everything happens for a reason’ and that ‘you never get handed anything that you can’t handle’.”
In a recent email update to friends and supporters, Stacey talks about her love for Tony:
“It is 15 years today since I got my hands on Tony at a friend’s party long ago – that is nearly half my life. I thank all the gods above that I can be enjoying that anniversary today and many more to come.”
To read the Kombi Club members’ forum, visit www.kombiclub.com. To contribute to The Great Whipround for Tony, go to http://tonyskcfund.google pages.com.
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