We’d like to introduce you to Joel Sardi….
Joel is 28 years old and a brilliant young man living in Eltham, Victoria.
In 2013, Joel came back from a 7 month tour of Afghanistan as an infantryman in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment. He was stationed in South Australia and had his whole life ahead of him. He was a promising footballer, loved to run, go to the gym, swim and ride his bike. He had just met the love of his life but was stationed away from home. His major issues at that time included, a mobile phone that was out of charge by 10am every morning and that he had to cook himself dinner every night.
Saturday, 30 August 2014 is a day indelibly etched into his brain. It began like many others… coffee and cake at his favourite deli and down to the local reserve to watch his footy team play in the preliminary final. Later that day he was out with friends when he fell backwards down a spiral staircase, 3 metres to the ground and fractured his back. It took the paramedics 45 minutes to stabilise him for transport and once at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, he underwent emergency surgery to fuse his C4 to C6 and insert a titanium cage to support his C5. Joel woke up two days later to the diagnosis of C5 sensory incomplete quadriplegia… he was now paralysed from the shoulders down with only small movements in his biceps, forearms and wrists.
We met with Joel and he’s not the kind of guy that wants you to feel sorry for him. He is a fighter and he politely doesn’t take no for an answer. This young man has done everything within his power to get back as much use of his body as possible. He was one of the first patients to have nerves inserted into his wrists, hands and arms to give him a small amount of movement. He has travelled to the U.S. to do two rehab stints at “Project Walk” to help maximise his capacity to live as much of a normal life as possible. He has a part time job, as a recruitment officer at ‘Ironside’ helping other veterans find work, and inspires others through his motivational speaking engagements. He is getting married soon to the love of his life and wants to live as normal and independent a life as possible.
Joel has previously applied to every organisation for a mobility assistance dog but their waiting lists are full and closed. He called Jo at Righteous Pups Australia constantly to see if they would train a dog for him and every time he was polite but determined. Righteous Pups really wanted to help this young man because he is an excellent example of resilience and a mobility dog would transform his life; by giving him the support and independence he needs to move out of home with his wife (to be), make a good life for himself and give back to his community.
This is where you can help!
The Jared Dunscombe Fund is going to help Joel by raising the funds
to train a mobility assistance dog
This mobility dog needs to learn many skills to be able to support Joel:
- Assist with dressing
- Fetching a blanket
- Emergency alert bark or get the phone
- Fetch items dropped like phones, eating utensils etc.
- Open and close doors, fridge, cupboards, backpack etc.
- Push on his stomach to help Joel cough
- Push Joel’s head up if it drops so his airways are not compromised
- Bring his wheelchair to him
- Help him out in public and social settings
And so much more…