Clayton Higgins’ life changed in a heartbeat nine weeks ago.
The 31-year-old Glenmore Park resident was part of a group riding their motorbikes in the Hawkesbury, when he miscalculated a bend and collided with an oncoming vehicle.
His younger brother, Justin, was part of the group and was first on the scene to assist.
Mr Higgins broke his sternum, multiple ribs, and crushed the T6 vertebrae, which has caused permanent damage to his spinal cord.
Paralysed from the chest down, Mr Higgins is unlikely to walk again.
Mr Higgins has spent the past nine weeks in Royal North Shore Hospital, and his family are hopeful in eight weeks he can move to the rehabilitation clinic at Ryde Hospital, with the goal of moving back home by Christmas. His home will require significant modifications to make it wheelchair accessible.
“Clayton was a very active person,” said sister Rebecca Higgins.
“He did carpentry and excavating and last year he was renovating his home.”
He also has a passion for snowboarding, camping, four-wheel-driving and motorbike riding, and played football throughout his school years.
To keep Clayton’s spirits up and to raise funds to help cover living expenses for Clayton and his partner Fiona Arthurson who is no longer working, family and friends have organised a fundraising gala dinner on July 15.
“We’re encouraging people to support the fundraiser,” Ms Higgins said.
To be held at Penrith Panthers from 7pm, there will be a two-course meal, drinks and entertainment, raffles and auctions.
Tickets start at $158. It's hoped to raise $60,000 on the night, with an end goal of $100,000.
“He’s a strong guy mentally,” said Richard Hughes, whose wife Fiona is Clayton’s cousin, and is part of the group organising the event.
“He has good days and bad days. Another reason to have this event is not just for the money [raised], but to show show support and solidarity for him.”
Wheelchair basketballer and rower Paralympian Erik Horrie, who became a paraplegic following a motor vehicle accident, will speak on the night.
There will also be video messages of support from numerous personalities including Olympic speedskater Steven Bradbury and ex-Triple J and 702 presenter Adam Spencer.
Tickets are available by visiting www.eventbrite.com.au/e/gala-dinner-in-aid-of-clayton-higgins-tickets-35033226323.
To make a donation visit: www.gofundme.com/clayton-higgins-recovery-trust.