DARREN Shearer knew he was in trouble the second he tried to sit up.
Just seconds earlier, the 41-year-old Morven man was on the back of a road bike, zooming around outback Queensland with mates, when he struck a log.
That moment, back in June last year, changed the course of his life.
He was left paraplegic after breaking his back in two places.
It led to 17 months in and out of hospitals, receiving rehabilitation and treatment, and learning how to get around in his new mode of transportation: his wheelchair.
But, the single dad said, he hasn’t been alone.
“There’s a lot of people around that help you come to terms with what you’ve got,” he said.
“It doesn’t take away your own thoughts and fears but you slowly accept it more.”
Mr Shearer was taken first to Brisbane hospital, where he stayed for seven weeks, followed by five months at the Prince of Wales rehabilitation ward in Sydney and more time at the Albury and Culcairn hospitals.
It’s taken a lot of adjusting, for himself, his four children, aged five to 16, and Janel Shearer, his mother and now carer.
“The kids have done quite well,” he said, as Conrad, five, jumped on his lap.
“It was hard on them all, but they are accepting things pretty well now.”
Mr Shearer is slowly accepting it, too.
“People say you’ve got to get used to asking, but I just don’t like,” he grinned wryly.
“I thought I’d be able to handle things but I realise there’s still so many things I can’t do.”
Among those helping him adjust to his new life have been his mates from his former truck driving gig, who helped with fund-raisers at the Boomerang Hotel last year, and Culcairn friends, including Lyn Jacobsen who stitched together a John Deere-themed quilt to be raffled off.
That raffle was drawn yesterday at Hutcheon & Pearce in Lavington, where the quilt was displayed and tickets sold for some time.
All the proceeds of the raffle went to Mr Shearer, which he will put toward the extensive renovations he needs to do to his house in order to get around.
You can donate to an account supporting Mr Shearer at WAW Credit Union branches. Details of the account are:
BSB: 803 070 ACCOUNT: 85706