AN overwhelmed Les Borthwick received his much-needed mobility scooter in Cairns today, after the community generously responded to an appeal launched by Federal MP Warren Entsch.
Les, 76, went into Cairns Base Hospital a year ago for a knee replacement but complications have forced him to undergo seven operations. During the most recent operation, a metre-long steel rod was inserted in his right leg, meaning he is now unable to straighten or put any weight on it.
Les’ son Rob Borthwick and his best mate Graham Jonsen contacted Mr Entsch in October as they were devastated at what Les had been through, as in addition to the seven operations he had also caught serious Golden Staph infections and a tropical disease requiring isolation.
The appeal was launched and funds raised have helped to pay for the Shoprider Rocky 4 mobility scooter, which has an RRP of $5700 and is one of the larger, most robust machines on the market.
Today, Les was quick to jump on his new wheels and get a driving lesson with Scooter Shed owner Greg Martin, who recommended and organised the machine.
Mr Borthwick said he was looking forward to regaining his mobility as having the scooter means he can travel to shops and facilities that are nearby to his current accommodation in Gordonvale.
“It will also be great for when Les returns to Weipa,” Mr Entsch added. “It’s perfect for Weipa’s rugged terrain, has a good battery life and means he’ll be able get around the roads and bike paths with no difficulty.
“This is going to mean a lot for his independence and my thanks go to the Far Northern community, especially the Weipa locals who contributed to this appeal,” Mr Entsch said.
It is likely that Les will need to remain in Cairns for a further six to eight months, undergoing physiotherapy, and further operations may yet be needed before he can return to Weipa.
“If you are in the market for a scooter, mobility or otherwise, please visit Greg at the Scooter Shed and support this local business as they have very generously supported us,” Mr Entsch ended.
“Thanks also to Cairns Penny Savings & Loans for handling the appeal through the Office of Warren Entsch MP Benevolence fund and to Ewan McCrum, loans officer, who was present on the day to hand over the cheque.”The Scooter Shed at 6/214 Mulgrave Road, Westcourt, phone 4051 2243 or visit the website at www.scootershed.com.au.