Tony Enchelmaier has learnt a lot about life and people in the last three months.
Since a motor vehicle accident on May 20 that resulted in Tony’s right leg being amputated just below the knee, the 33-year-old automotive transmission mechanic has ridden an emotional rollercoaster of despairing lows and inspirational highs.
The lows are the obvious mental and physical challenges of repairing his broken body and confronting life as an amputee but Tony’s spirits have been boosted immeasurably by the support he has received locally and nationally.
Fellow VW Kombi owners rallied to Tony’s cause and raised more than $5000 via the Kombi Club Australia website, allowing Tony and wife Stacey to buy a state-of-the-art wheelchair.
Local business people, tradesmen and volunteers have also pitched in to help, donating time and money to build an ensuite onto the Enchelmaier’s home so that Stacey does not have to carry Tony from his wheelchair into their small bathroom.
In a Backyard Blitz-style operation, the family has been sent away to an undisclosed location for a short break so the work can be completed.
Project Ensuite organisers are calling for volunteers who have offered their services to turn-out this Saturday to fast-track the task.
Tony and Stacey and daughters Grace and Joy are expected to return to their ‘ensuited’ home next week.
Three weeks ago Tony finally got his left leg out of plaster and stood up for the first time in more than 10 weeks.
“I felt so tall and swayed liked a high rise before sitting down and trying again,” he wrote in an update to friends and supporters.
The couple also said goodbye to their beloved Kombi which was a write-off in the accident.
In a blog on the Kombi Club website, Tony said the messages of support had had a profound influence on his attitude and well-being.
“It has lifted me up above any depression and carried me along in this journey not allowing me to doubt or despair,” he said.
“I am blown away by the funds but it has really been everything else that has healed my soul: the amazing depths to your words, the contacts, the stories, the t-shirts.
“I guess it is just a Kombi thing.”
Tony thanked everyone for allowing him “to turn a disappointing situation into a positive one, leaving me to rest and heal in a beautiful area of this world.”
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.