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Special appeal: Former Links editor Terry Townsend needs your help
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is posting below a special appeal for our former editor Terry Townsend (above). Links would not be the valuable resource it is today without Terry's tireless efforts and dedication over many years. We hope readers can perhaps give something back by donating to the appeal. Donations can be made via the Links Paypal account by clicking on the "Donate" button on the left hand side of the page or by emailing townsend[dot]terry[at]gmail.com
The appeal has been written by Terry’s life companion, Lisa Macdonald
Dear comrades and friends,
After a 16-month battle to survive and then begin the recovery from a “catastrophic” (the medical term) brain hemorrhage in August 2015, Terry is at last able to move out of the nursing home he’s been living in for the last 12 months to live in his own home again.
Now he needs your help to gain some independent mobility and ensure that he’s not confined to home for the rest of his life, can reconnect with comrades and friends, and participate in political activities again.
On August 28, 2015, Terry’s life was ripped out from under him when a malformed artery in the right side of his brain ruptured, causing a massive bleed that lasted for six hours before he was found unconscious by his partner, Lisa, and helicoptered to Nepean Hospital for life-saving surgery.
Terry never knew he had the AVM since birth – it was a time-bomb waiting to go off. He was fit and healthy, working full-time at Sydney University, and very active in progressive politics in Australia and internationally, mainly through editing the Links journal website he loved and distributing Green Left Weekly, the newspaper he helped to produce and wrote for (aka Norm Dixon) for 25 years - especially articles on the environment, Aboriginal struggles and the people’s movements in Africa, along with many music reviews.
Terry joined the left movement when he was 16 years old and is a founding member of the Socialist Alliance. Trying to make sense of the cruel blow dealt to him, Terry points out that as a socialist he already knew life is unfair for the majority of people, but now his lifelong struggle for freedom, justice and happiness for all people is also a very personal battle for a decent quality of life for himself.
After four weeks in a coma, seven weeks in intensive care and then four more months in hospital, Terry has made amazing progress in the last year. Despite being completely paralyzed down his left side, Terry’s determination (he attributes this to being a “stubborn old goat”), alongside his dry sense of humour which gives him courage to deal with the inevitable depression, has enabled him to progress from being unable to speak, swallow or move his body at all, to now being able to talk, read, balance himself in his wheelchair and, just recently, to stand up with assistance.
Terry is doing physiotherapy three times a week and is working hard to prove those doctors who said he’d never be independently mobile wrong. Terry standing on Katoomba Street with Green Left Weeklys in hand every Saturday morning, come rain, snow or sunshine, is a sight well-known (and much missed) by Blue Mountains locals – one that Terry aims to make happen again, albeit in his wheelchair.
How Terry needs your help
Terry has just received a National Disability Insurance Scheme package that provides equipment and some nursing assistance each day to allow him to live at home with Lisa, who will be the full-time carer. We hope that by the end of March Terry will be living at home, back in front of his computer and engaged with the “real world” again.
One thing the NDIS will not assist with – and where your help will make a huge difference for Terry – is the cost of obtaining a vehicle that can be modified to take Terry’s wheelchair. Because he must sit in a special, “tilt-in-space” wheelchair to remain safely upright, he cannot travel in a normal car seat. This means it will be difficult for him to attend medical appointments or other activities, or just get out from behind four walls, without a modified vehicle, which would be driven by Lisa. There are only two wheelchair taxis in the Blue Mountains and they are often unavailable for bookings, as well as being very expensive to use.
The NDIS will contribute towards the cost of converting a vehicle (if it’s less than three years old) to take a wheelchair, but the second-hand cost of the three types of vehicles that can be converted for Terry’s type of wheelchair is around $35,000. So, after selling our car and using Terry’s (tiny) superannuation, we need to raise around $25,000.
We hope this might be achievable through donations from all those who know Terry and Lisa and are able to contribute.
For details of how to make a donation to Terry’s mobility fund, please contact Terry and Lisa at: townsend[dot]terry[at]gmail.com
This informal fund appeal avoids the fees charged to donors by crowdfunding sites, but relies on “word of mouth” online. So, if you are happy to forward it to others by email and/or Facebook, that would be much appreciated.
Terry and Lisa are extremely grateful for all and any contributions to help Terry regain some independence again. Thank you so much for your solidarity, caring and support.