Fundraiser ready as family fights for Steve

Fundraiser ready as family fights for Steve

Steve with his four kids; Tarja, Hunter, Ari and Angus.

On February 19, Steve Wright was relaxing in the backyard of his Byford home.

It was a stinking hot day – getting up to 44 C degrees.

He did what many of us would have done – bent over to cup some water from a nearby kiddy wheelbarrow to splash over his head for some sweet relief. But he lost his balance and tumbled.

It wasn’t a great distance that he fell, even though Steve is 6ft 3. It was just one of those freak accidents that could have happened to anyone. But the repercussions for the Wright family have been enormous.

Steve was rushed to the RPH where doctors found he had a spinal cord injury and a C3-C4 bulging disc.

Tragically he was classed as a quadriplegic.

Life as they knew it changed from that day on for the Wright family.

In an instant they lost two incomes; his wife, Nicci, was just about to start a new job as a cook at the local daycare centre. But she has had to drop everything to be by his side and care for their four kids.

On top of the emotional and financial stress, Nicci’s also trying to navigate the bureaucratic quagmire of the NDIS and Centrelink so the couple can make ends meet.

“I’m just so heartbroken. I’m coping terribly – I’m exhausted and really, really worn out. I just want to sleep. But I can’t. I honestly wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Nicci said.

Nicci and Steve Wright

“And he’s so frustrated and angry at himself.

“The teenagers know their ‘Daddo’ is ok – he’s still there. But my five-year-old keeps asking when his Daddy is coming home.

“The other day he asked if he could get a magic wand to make Daddy better.”

Nicci’s sister set up a GoFundMe account for the family to relieve some of the financial burden on them.

More than $6000 has now been donated, which Nicci said has helped to pay a good chunk of their rent in advance, and her fuel and parking expenses from the daily trips to the hospital. They’ve also purchased a tablet with the funds for Steve to use during his lonely stay in hospital, and to help him contact his family more easily.

“I’m so overwhelmed and so bloody grateful. I’ve had so much help – people have dropped off food, and the Olive Branch has reached out to give the kids counselling,” Nicci said.

“People I don’t even know have reached out to help.”

There are glimmers of hope that things could improve for Steve with rehabilitation. And he is waiting to be moved to Fiona Stanley to begin that process.

But spinal injuries are tricky, and every survivor has a different outcome.

Nicci is tentatively optimistic that Steve will find his feet.

“He’s so determined to walk again, and I think his stubbornness will get him there,” Nicci said. “But it’ll take time.”

Steve is trying to keep in good spirits, joking that he plans to become a wheelchair stuntman.

It’s the waiting that’s been the most painful for everyone. And the uncertainty.

Nicci is currently trying to plan for the worst – that Steve will be wheelchair-bound for life. The logistics of which are expensive and stressful.

Not only does the family now require a wheelchair-friendly van, but Nicci is also having to consider relocating to more accessible accommodation in order to keep them all together under one roof.

“I’m always the first person to help anyone out. Yet I feel so guilty about asking for help myself – but we really need it,” she said.

Thankfully the community is rallying around them.

Local member Hugh Jones is organising a raffle as a fundraiser for the Wright family, which will be drawn at the Byford and Districts Country Club this Friday evening.

A swag of prizes has already been donated including hundreds of dollars in vouchers, a meat tray, an extraordinary painting from local artist Sue Leeming, and gin from a local distillery. And more offers keep coming.

The Byford and Districts Country Club will also be hosting a kids foam party to coincide with the fundraiser, from 6.30-7.30pm.

“I just want to thank the whole community for their help – it means so much to us. And if anyone could help a little more, I’d be so grateful,” Nicci said.

Click here to donate to the family’s GoFundMe page.