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Community rallies to get Garry home

Roma man Garry Alexander and his family hope to raise enough funds so he can return home.
Roma man Garry Alexander and his family hope to raise enough funds so he can return home.

WHATEVER time Garry Alexander has left on earth he wants to spend it surrounded by friends, family and the land he loves.

The Roma man was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2007.

Over the past six years, the incurable disease has slowly taken its toll on his now 37-year-old body.

He is now currently in the critical care ward at the Toowoomba Hospital connected to a machine that provides a flow of air to his lungs, via a tracheostomy. But it is not where he wants to be.

"Garry's wish is to be at home as it is my wish," wife Kylie Alexander said.

The relatively simple notion of returning home, however, comes with a multitude of problems for Garry and his family, not least the financial strain.

"Times will be demanding and home ventilation of a patient with motor neurone disease is rarely heard of in Australia let alone a rural community," Mrs Alexander said.

"So Garry is a first for many services, hospitals and organisations.

"But without firsts there are not precedents.

"I firmly believe palliative care needs to be advocated in rural communities and those who wish to be at home, can be, with their families and with quality of life."

The family is now appealing for a helping hand to "get Garry home".

A Facebook page has been set up for the dedicated father and country man.

The Alexander family (back) Kylie and her husband Garry with their children Hayley, Tom, Brendan. Garry has motor neurone disease. His friends and family have launched an appeal so he can spend his final days at home, surrounded by his family. December 2012. Contributed
The Alexander family (back) Kylie and her husband Garry with their children Hayley, Tom, Brendan. Garry has motor neurone disease. His friends and family have launched an appeal so he can spend his final days at home, surrounded by his family. December 2012. Contributed

Already the group has 1650 members and raised over $5000.

Some people have donated money, other medical equipment, all of it has overwhelmed the Alexander family.

"It is all very humbling," Mrs Alexander said.

"The support that is being offered emotionally and physically is beyond our comprehension and continues to blow us away.

"Garry, who had never touched Facebook before, has become a convert and is watching the progress with disbelief.

"It brings him to tears regularly as he watches all the well wishes from people he doesn't even know."

Toowoomba Hospital medical services executive director Dr Peter Gillies said hospital staff members were working with the family to cater to Mr Alexander's needs.

"Patients with a progressive, neurological condition are not kept long term," Dr Gillies said.

"No definite time limits have been put in place (as to when Mr Alexander will have to leave the hospital), but we are in discussion of how to manage and provide care for his terminal, progressive condition."

More information about how to help the Alexander family can be found on the open Facebook page Bring Garry Alexander Home.

"It is not known how long Garry has left, but whatever that time is he wants to spend at home," Mrs Alexander said.

Motor Neurone Disease facts

  • Motor neurone disease is a condition that is present in approximately 1400 people in Australia.
  • Primarily because as one person is diagnosed another looses their battle.
  • It is usually present in the older generation, but does affect some as young as 17 years.
  • There is no known cure and death is usually failure of the muscles around the lungs.

Topics:  motor neurone disease, roma, toowoomba, toowoomba hospital




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