New in­sur­ance a break­through

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By KATE LEAVER

GREG Will­mott re­mem­bers driv­ing into a black wall of sludge just mo­ments be­fore a hor­rific car ac­ci­dent that changed his life for­ever.

“All I could see at the end of the head­lights was a wall of black sludge, like I was driv­ing into it be­fore ev­ery­thing went black,” Mr Will­mott said.

“I was driv­ing for 15km in a sub­con­scious state. Where I hit the tree was the last corner be­fore the straight road to my house.”

The ac­ci­dent just out­side York 16 years ago ren­dered the Glen­dalough res­i­dent a quad­ri­plegic.

Mr Will­mott said at the time he was “push­ing him­self to the limit” and work­ing two jobs.

“I must have been lay­ing down with my head on the pas­sen­ger’s seat so when I hit I only had a small part of the seat­belt on me so when that snapped I got forced un­der the dash­board; I hit the tree dead cen­tre and was go­ing pretty fast,” he said.

“My neck was hooked on to the gear stick and that’s how I broke the ver­te­brae.

“When I came around, I saw a square of light, like in the morn­ing when you look up into the sky and it’s sort of a golden blue, I thought wow, the sun is out and then the next thing I re­mem­ber is the beeps from med­i­cal ma­chines.”

Mr Will­mott said when he was told he might never walk again he thought he was hav­ing a strange dream.

Af­ter 16 years in his wheelchair, Mr Will­mott said he had spent up to 10 years bedrid­den be­cause of pres­sure sores and with­out in­sur­ance had been wait­ing for surgery to re­lieve the pain since 2011.

Mr Will­mott said new cat­a­strophic in­jury in­sur­ance would ben­e­fit peo­ple in his po­si­tion who needed on-go­ing care.

“Some peo­ple are go­ing to find the ex­tra $99 hard but again ev­ery­one pays the same it doesn’t mat­ter if you’re rich or poor,” he said.

“It just means peo­ple like me when we have an ac­ci­dent we’re taken care of and you don’t have to worry about how you can af­ford things to live ev­ery­day life.”

Mr Will­mott speaks at work­places for the Para­plegic Ben­e­fit Fund to warn peo­ple about driv­ing tired.

“Ev­ery­thing’s so fast paced to­day we are al­ways push­ing our­selves, a lot of crashes hap­pen right near home when peo­ple start to re­lax. Just pull up for five min­utes, take a break, it’s bet­ter late than never.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d454948

Glen­dalough res­i­dent Greg Will­mott.

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