Eight years ago, David, Christian’s brother and his best friend, were swimming with mates when a jump into the water had life-changing consequences.
“David was about 22 when he dived into the water at the beach, something he’s done a thousand times before,” Christian explains. “This time though, it was different.”
At the time, David was social and sporty. He was a fierce competitor in national swimming titles. He was also completing a construction and building course at TAFE.
David hit a sandbar. The impact to his spine was with the full force of gravity.
The jump resulted in C5 and C6 quadriplegia, a six-month hospital rehabilitation stay and the reality that David would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
For many people like David, so focused on sport and activity, it would be almost impossible to imagine what shape the future would take. Life as he knew it had stopped in its tracks.
Eight years on, Christian explains that his brother’s attitude has been incredible. He says that David is more socially active than ever, is passionate about fishing and even works in the building industry.
Born just two years apart, the two are close in age and in nature. David was best man at Christian’s wedding and, even today, they live next door to each other.
David’s accident gave Christian a new insight into the scope of disability support, especially regarding young people. He describes seeing his brother’s experience as like seeing things from a “360-degree angle”.
It has inspired a new and unique perspective on care, one that was especially valuable when he opened Just Better Care Melbourne Bayside last year.
“Now I see it from a personal point of view and have a much better understanding of the effects that small things have on a person living with disability,” he says.
Christian explains that David’s experience showed him the importance of a genuine connection to customers and their stories, leading to insights that inform his work with people in the Bayside area.
Insights such as the importance of finding a good Support Professional and customer match, especially for his younger customers who might benefit from having a companion closer to their age.
“For all our customers, it’s so important to find the right Support Professional for them,” he says. “Every customer is someone’s brother, sister, mother, father or friend and they should have a Support Professional who adds something to their lives.”
Today, David is one of Just Better Care Melbourne Bayside’s many customers. The team help with a morning and night routine and provide community access support so that David can go shopping or run errands.
They are currently planning excursions, such as regular fishing trips. The ultimate goal is to figure out the logistics of getting David away for week-long trips to the family beach house.
Although it’s still a relatively new office, Christian says Just Better Care Melbourne Bayside is going well. A year down the track, the reason he started his business is still the thing that brings the most satisfaction and drives his engagement with the local community.
“There are people who need support to live a rich and rewarding life,” he says. “The key is having the right people around who can help make this a reality.
“Ultimately, I wanted to build a business known for making a difference through the highest standards of care. I think we’re on track.”
Find out how you can make your goals possible with Just Better Care’s in-home disability support and aged care services. Visit justbettercare.com/services or contact us today.
This article is from issue 7 of Possible Magazine. Read it here.