Corryong woman books two tickets to access life-changing treatment with help of community

Corryong’s Carol Halliday remembers having her hair cut by Emily Hewatt – so when she heard the 23-year-old was wheelchair-bound and in need of treatment in the US, she wanted to help.

Mrs Halliday and her husband, Brett, donated an Angus steer for auction through Costello Rural at the Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange on Tuesday.

GOOD RESULT: Peter Ruaro, representing Costello Rural, sold an Angus steer for Emily Hewatt's appeal at the Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange on Tuesday.

GOOD RESULT: Peter Ruaro, representing Costello Rural, sold an Angus steer for Emily Hewatt's appeal at the Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange on Tuesday.

“The neighbours had a calf that was having trouble feeding, so they asked if we wanted it – two years later it was still running around our paddock,” she said.

“We knew about her situation, and we just thought, we can donate this steer.

HOPEFUL: Emily Hewatt and her mother, Alison, are heading to America in September so Emily can access life-changing treatment. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

HOPEFUL: Emily Hewatt and her mother, Alison, are heading to America in September so Emily can access life-changing treatment. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

“She was a lovely young girl, I can’t believe what’s happened.”

The 570kg steer was sold to Tey’s Wagga Wagga above market value for $2166, with all proceeds donated.

The entire community has rallied behind Emily’s bid to access treatment unavailable in Australia; the cause was endorsed by the Man From Snowy River Bush Festival.

Ms Hewatt contracted complex regional pain syndrome in 2012, a rare condition with no cure where the brain’s “pain switch” doesn’t turn off after a trauma – in Emily’s case, a broken wrist.

Her mother, Alison, said the pain was intensified by cool temperatures.

“Em is struggling with winter … things like showering become more difficult, because it takes so much more to get warm – our gas bill has skyrocketed,” she said.

Michelle Platschinda, president of the Purple Bucket Foundation, successfully reduced her symptoms of CRPS with calmare therapy.

“That’s why we had hoped to go to America in May.”

Despite there still being $10,000 to reach the amount they need, the Hewatts have booked their flights for September.

“We’re over there for 21 nights – enough time for 14 treatments,” Alison said.

“We’re fairly confident it will work … she’s nervous and excited and she has very mixed emotions about it all.”

The Purple Bucket Foundation, run by the Hewatts and other CRPS sufferers, is working on its goal to get calmare therapy to the country, which has a reported 80 per cent success rate.

“We got all the legal side of it looked at and were advised not to do it through the foundation due to the legal side being huge – it will cost more than to actually purchase a machine,” Alison said.

“Now we’re looking for partners for a prospectus.”

Alison said the foundation had been contacted by others in the North East living with the condition.

“We find out nearly every week of someone else suffering from CRPS,” she said.

“There’s another four people heading over for treatment, so certainly the demand is significant,” she said.

“The whole thing just gives everyone a bit of hope with whatever plight they’re fighting.”

To donate, go to lasthopeforalife.com.au.