Pop’s in the swim, inspired by Robbie
BRAVE Robbie Buchan is a trailblazer in a herculean fight against meningococcal disease — now he is throwing his beloved pop in the deep end.
Leigh Buchan, 57, is overcoming a life-long aversion to open water to swim 3.6km and raise money for Perth medics who save the lives of kids like his three-year-old grandson.
“What the team at Princess Margaret Hospital did was exceptional,” Leigh said.
“I have no doubt had he fallen ill anywhere else other than here in Perth, and had his parents not acted so quickly, Robbie would not have survived.”
While Robbie has lost most of his arms and legs, Perth burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood led a team to delay the amputations for more than a year, the longest recorded wait in history.
In the process — enduring daily changes to the special burns dressing on his necrotic limbs for 16 months — the tough tot has retained stumps on his limbs, suitable for prosthetics.
Leigh says while he can never repay the medics who have been by Robbie’s side as he “grew up” on the burns ward, he wants to salute them by fundraising in the Busselton Jetty Swim, in February.
Leigh, a seismic data manager, is appealing to corporate Perth to sponsor him.
His employer, ConocoPhillips, has kickstarted the campaign, donating $2000.
“It’s an investment in their kids and grandkids — everyone through their lifetimes, unfortunately, are going to have dealings with the (Perth) Children’s Hospital,” he said.
Robbie’s mum, Desiree, said Leigh’s fundraising swim was an important gesture to medics.
“No amount of words pays them justice — they are the reason we have our son,” she said.
Leigh is a former beach sprint champion at City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club.
Robbie’s dad, Iain, says club members are chuckling at his father’s fundraising plunge. “It’s well known around the surf club that Buchans are runners, not swimmers!” he laughed.
Family bond: Robbie Buchan with his pop, Leigh, and his dad, Iain, at City Beach. Picture: Richard Hatherly