ETU Hardship Fund saves the day
For long time ETU member, Brad Nash, February 16, 2018 started much like any other day. By day’s end, life had changed forever for him and his family.
Brad’s wife Michelle and two school age daughters were leaving school and waiting at a school crossing on the Princes Highway at Officer, near Pakenham. Michelle was careful to keep Tayla, aged nine and Chelsea, aged seven safely behind the yellow line. Tayla was happily showing off her new electric scooter and had her helmet on.
Suddenly, Michelle saw a silver ute cross the median strip coming straight at her and the kids. The ute ploughed right through the group of parents and children waiting on the side of the road. It left a chaotic scene, which witnesses described as a “bomb site”. Michelle took the brunt of the collision. She was thrown at least 4 metres and landed heavily on the road. She suffered cuts, bruises, five broken bones in her back and a shattered left shoulder with three breaks. She was left senseless, helpless and in pain lying on the ground. “The worst part was not knowing if the girls were alright” she recalls, “That helpless feeling, I still remember”.
Tayla was also heavily struck. She was dragged underneath the ute and received severe grazing to her legs and two black eyes. Luckily, she was wearing her helmet which saved her from more serious head injuries. Chelsea was hanging back a little, showing her friends her new pet bird, so although she was affected she was not seriously injured. She was obviously very upset by the serious injuries to her mum and older sister.
The driver of the ute abandoned the badly damaged vehicle in the middle of the Princes Highway and ran. In total, eight people had been run down by the stolen ute he was driving.
Nearby, Brad was waiting with his young son, Jake aged three and the family’s cavoodle puppy, Lola. They were planning to meet Michelle and the girls and go grocery shopping. When Michelle regained consciousness, she asked a bystander to go and tell Brad what had happened. Brad and Jake rushed to the school crossing to find a scene of absolute mayhem.
Brad describes the next few months as being very difficult. He couldn’t work; needing to shuttle between hospitals and rehab facilities for Michelle and Tayla, while needing to keep Chelsea at school and looking after Jake. “It was a really busy time, and very difficult for everyone. Luckily our parents and friends were great and dropped everything to help out. The community were so supportive. The Beaconsfield food bank made sure that we always had a fresh good meal available,” says Brad. He has a special mention for the ETU. “The ETU helped us out with hardship payments which helped so much with paying all the bills. This allowed me to take the time off work that I needed to shuttle between hospitals and keep the family on track”.
Michelle returned home after her rehab within a few months. Tayla miraculously did not need a skin graft after her legs were so badly grazed. Michelle has ongoing problems with her shoulder and back and will require ongoing medical treatment and support. She had to give up a thriving dog grooming business because she can no longer lift or handle the dogs.
Brad, Michelle, Tayla, Chelsea and Jake are all back together and still in one piece. Michelle is now able to be a strong mum for her kids and allow Brad to have time off to help other people once again. Reflecting on it all, Michelle notes that googling her name brings up the articles and news stories about the incident; “I wish that I was famous for something else!” she jokes with a beaming smile.
The wider ETU family is happy that we were able to help Brad, Michelle and their family in their time of need and are glad to see their recovery.
You can’t keep a good ETU family down for long!!
GOOD VIBRATIONS FOR THE VARIETY CLUB
Brad Nash is well known at the ETU for his generous fundraising efforts each year for the Variety Club. The ETU sponsor Brad’s team to the tune of $5000 each year to help cover the cost of their vehicle entry and sponsorship in the annual Variety Club Bash through outback Australia. Brad and his mates have fitted out a Toyota Cruiser in a “Beach Boys” theme. They have called the bus “Good Vibrations” to bring a bit of “surfs up” to the outback each year. Variety Club raise money for children in need, specifically granting much needed equipment, supplies and therapies to special needs schools and children. Brad and his mates often visit these schools as part of their Bash. So far they have raised over $90,000 for the children.
Brad is now in a position, thanks to Michelle and their children’s courage and resilience, to resume this important sponsorship and fundraising effort in 2019 by participating again in the Variety Club bash in August. This year the bash progresses from Melbourne and finishes in Geraldton WA. The bash is a giant fundraising effort and altogether raised almost $1.7 million to help children in 2018.
Brad and his mates are hoping to raise at least another $10,000 this year to add to the amount they have already raised and push them through the $100,000 total raised just by them. For more info on their Car 140 efforts for the Variety Club Bash you can type in this link - https://fundraise.variety.org.au/s/62/62/e
It’s a worthy cause that the ETU is proud to support each year.