Dad fighting for life after freak ladder fall
HE'S the kind of bloke who'd help a stranger with a hot meal and a place to sleep and is known as "dad" by so many, including his own three daughters.
But now Slade Point truck driver Stephen Louttit is the one who needs a hand after a freak ladder fall left him unconscious and fighting for his life.
Mr Louttit was pruning palm trees a fortnight ago, when he fell from a ladder. Steve's wife and high-school sweetheart Carolyn found him unconscious on their driveway.
He was then rushed to the Mackay Base Hospital where he was placed in an induced coma while doctors assessed the severity of his injuries, a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain.
Steve's daughter Sherilyn was still in shock as she sat in Townsville Hospital ICU with her beloved dad.
"It's not something that you ever picture I guess," Sherilyn said.
"It was his day off, he is a truck driver so he works every day and then has his day off every now and then and he was just doing yard work."
Sherilyn said the family is still very overwhelmed, and the stress is a lot for the family to cope with.
"It's just all so much," she said.
It's been a rough few years for the family, with Carolyn having a mastectomy after a serious battle with breast cancer in 2015.
The family's youngest daughter Deanna was also seriously ill with meningitis three years ago, and had to undergo her own brain surgery at the same hospital in which her father is fighting for life.
Deanna had recently suffered another serious health scare after a seizure.
"I walked into her bedroom the next morning and she is blue on the floor," Sherilyn said.
"I thought the worst."
Just when the family thought they were getting back on track, both Carolyn and Stephen, who were long-term employees of McAleese Transport, lost their jobs when the company went public.
"They thought they were set for life," Sherilyn said.
Despite all the setbacks, the family were still trying to be optimistic when it came to their patriarch's recovery.
Since the accident, Steve has undergone surgery where they have removed part of his skull to release some of the pressure from the swelling to the left side of his brain.
Once he returned to ICU, Steve developed cardiac dysrhythmias and had six electric shots to his heart to bring his heart rate back to normal.
"We are just hoping that the dialysis helps him, it's just a waiting game," Sherilyn said.
"But they can't even tell us, if he wakes up, how much of the brain is going to be functioning. "They said that we need you to be aware that he won't come back the same person. Whether that is that he has lost 30% or whether he only has 30% left, we won't know."
Sherilyn said her dad is a very kind and caring person, always willing to do anything to help a stranger.
"There is never a closed door; he welcomes everybody. He picks people up and then will just bring them home for dinner.
"I remember this Irish guy called Garrett that he met when I was 16, so nine years ago, and he camped in our backyard and he never left. Now he is an Australian citizen. He camped in our backyard, then we met his brother and his cousin.
"Now he calls him Dad."
Sherilyn fondly recalls how her dad let two backpackers camp in their yard for about two months.
"There were two German backpackers, who Garrett actually met at The Leap, he was just like 'my mum and dad are in Sladie and he will help to fix your van'," she said.
"They were here for two months and they just slept in the van every night and Dad would fix it on his days off."
The family's Gofundme has already raised close to $6000, as the community rallies for Stephen 'Spook' Louttit.