Media| Paddy’s Courage| Nicol Heard

I am built on the strength of my family. We had been in business since 2001, In 2011 my family dived into a black hole with My husband having a heart attack, our 9-month-old nephew also being diagnosed with a rare disease ‘Tay Sach’s’. We thought that this taught us to appreciate life and those we were lucky enough to spend it with. In the October of the same year, we had a terrifying car accident where my 3 children were helicoptered from the scene to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
My then 4-year-old son Paddy and 12-year-old daughter put into induced comas. My 11-year-old son Billy watched as we were all cut out of the car with the Jaws of Life. I was fixed winged to Melbourne and then to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Paddy’s skull was partially removed while the swelling went down in his brain; Haylee went to 18 hours of surgery on her lung intestines and orthopedic surgery. Billy waited again and then had all of his surgeries. I had my surgeries. Three months later we left the hospital, knowing life is too short and sold what was left of our business, tragically burying our 2-year-old nephew and after a year of rehabilitation we left to travel Australia to re-build ourselves.
We got to Byron Bay (Heaven on Earth) and had the most perfect Day with our Son Paddy we surfed and took him on a date, Thank goodness as the next day he fell unconscious in my arms, never to wake. After living in the Royal Children’s hospital for so long and seeing our friends children die because they didn’t receive organ transplants and survive because they were one of the lucky ones.
Our family choose to give the gift of life to someone who could be saved. We flew home to our family to be surrounded by love and support. In the next month’s we began Paddy’s Courage the Gift of paying it forward and discussing Organ & Tissue Donation with your family.
We went to Peterborough for a beach holiday 6 months later (January) to see if we were ready again to start our trip, we went water skiing with family friends our son who now was 12 was hit a jet ski that was being driven by an unlicensed drunk driver. We were airlifted from Warrnambool to the Children’s again. All well again we drove to my Mum’s in Ballarat and to complete the circle my husband finished saying no one could write about our lives and he had a stroke…
One week on we picked ourselves up and started our media campaign for DonateLife and our 100km walk along the Great Ocean Road neurological, orthopedic, heart, plaster and all we spoke to paper’s, radio, TV, etc. on organ donation.
We then walked with 30 people over 5 days and completed our walk and continue to raise Organ Donation. Our next gig was to raise awareness of Water Safety, again Newspaper radio and TV.
We continue to speak about our passions especially Organ and Tissue Donation and our once home at Ronald Macdonald house. In September 2014, we opened The Torquay Deli to offer everyone a wholesome family business that offers food that we know is made with the same love and strength that we are.