Tuross Head amputee's life is lifted

Tony Candy celebrated his new lift.

Tony Candy celebrated his new lift.

It's all up from here - Tony Candy is one happy man after finally receiving the freedom he has been deprived of for the past four years.

The Tuross Head resident developed diabetes after a bout of pneumonia which led to the amputation of his right leg in 2015.

He modified his two-storey house the best he could. But his ability to leave his home was restricted without a lift. He had to pull himself down the stairs on his bottom.

"I am not afraid of much - it was very daunting having to drag myself down the stairs," he said.

He had visited clinics to see if he was able to get a prosthetic leg, but discovered it wasn't an option.

"The perimeters weren't quite right to have one fitted," he said.

Tony Candy's staircase is too narrow for a chair lift to be installed and the gradient too steep for a ramp. Picture: Duncan McLaughlin.

Tony Candy's staircase is too narrow for a chair lift to be installed and the gradient too steep for a ramp. Picture: Duncan McLaughlin.

After being quoted $70,000 for the purchase and installation of a lift, Mr Candy sought help from Katungul's NDIS support coordinator Debbie Diggins.

She was appalled by Mr Candy's living conditions and helped lodge paperwork for the lift with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

"Debbie guided me through the channels of where we needed to be; she was amazing," Mr Candy said.

But it was a three-year long paper war, as Mr Candy described.

I still go out in the morning to check if the lift is still there - to make sure it's not a dream

Tony Candy

"I took it to court, hired a private solicitor to take on the government organisation - the NDIA," he said.

"It has been three years trying to get a lift through the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme)," he said.

Mr Candy's daughter suggested he go to his local media outlet and share his story.

In October, 2018, The Bay Post/Moruya Examiner reported on his plea for a lift to be installed at his home.

Installed by a crane, the lift is located at the back end of his home.

Installed by a crane, the lift is located at the back end of his home.

"I can't say it was because of the article, but it was a coincidence that two weeks after it was published our court case became successful," Mr Candy said.

"I didn't think it would happen because I was knocked back so many times.

"But I knew in my heart it was fair and reasonable."

"What happened to me, I would like to see happen to others who have been denied the essentials.

"I would like it to become precedence because too many people fall through the cracks."

Mr Candy can now return to the things he loves.

Tony Candy said it feels surreal to finally have a lift at his Tuross Head home.

Tony Candy said it feels surreal to finally have a lift at his Tuross Head home.

"I can go back to the community radio station and play my harmonica and have a chat with the boys," he said.

"I can go to the muso afternoons at Malua Bay - I can do that now!" he said excitedly.

"It's nice to be able to move around on my wiggle mobile in my own suburb too."

Mr Candy thanked his solicitor, Patrick Latham and Debbie Diggins for her support.

"And a big thanks to all my mates who helped me along the way," he said.

"I still go out in the morning to check if the lift is still there - to make sure it's not a dream."

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