THE homecoming of an injured Border sportsman will coincide with the start of a building project to raise money towards his ongoing rehabilitation.
The Nick’s Journey committee plans to build and auction a house in Thurgoona to support Nick Dempsey, who is due to return from treatment in Melbourne on August 21.
Committee member Leanne Luhrs said previous fundraising activities included a charity ball, auction and raffle.
“We decided building a house was the best thing because Nick was a tradie and all his friends were tradies,” she said. “A lot of them … wanted to offer to do something and giving up their time on a weekend was the big solution.”
An apprentice plumber, water polo player and footballer, Nick broke his neck in a diving accident on his 21st birthday in January.
Diagnosed with C4 quadriplegia, he has been completing rehabilitation at Royal Talbot Kew for the past six months.
Peter Dempsey said his son was doing as well as could be expected and his spirits remained high.
His father looked forward to Nick returning home this month.
“I’m in the trade so we’ve had the builder come in and we’ve made the odd ramp and widened a few doors,” Mr Dempsey said.
A plumber himself, Mr Dempsey had the idea to build a house for auction and Davis Sanders Homes assisted in securing a 1200sq m block of land in Iluka Views Estate, off Kerr Road.
“The ball started rolling and the Nick’s Journey committee are all volunteers, no one’s asked them to come on board they did it all themselves and it’s all a bit humbling,” he said.
Davis Sanders Homes managing director Murray Pigdon said his company had a long association with the Dempsey family.
“When Peter suggested he was going to build a home, we were obviously more than happy to do anything we can,” Mr Pigdon said.
The house will have four bedrooms, two living areas, a separate study and a big kitchen.
Mrs Luhrs contributed design ideas, for example in the positioning of doors to improve access to the kitchen.
“I was bringing the whole ‘woman’s touch’ thing,” she said with a laugh. “It’s got enough room on the block down the track you could put your swimming area in.”
Mrs Luhrs thought the project could take 12 months.
“We need a lot of volunteers and a lot of the trades guys so we will be relying a lot on weekends,” she said.
“That’s the part that will add value to our home, making it so much more of a community project.”
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