Terry Townsend needs your help

Terry, a long-time Green Left Weekly journalist, needs your help.
February 10, 2017

After a 16-month battle to survive and then recover from a major brain hemorrhage in August 2015, long-time Green Left Weekly journalist and seller Terry Townsend is at last able to move out of the nursing home to live in his own home again.

Now he needs your help to ensure he is not confined there for the rest of his life, can reconnect with comrades and friends, and participate in political activities again.

On August 28, 2015, a malformed artery in the right side of Terry’s brain ruptured, causing a massive bleed that lasted for six hours before he was found unconscious and helicoptered to Nepean Hospital for life-saving surgery.

Terry was fit and healthy, working full-time at Fisher Library at Sydney University and very active in progressive politics in Australia and internationally, mainly through editing the Links website and distributing Green Left Weekly, the newspaper he helped to produce since its inception. Terry wrote many articles on the environment, Aboriginal struggles and the people’s movements in Africa, often under the pen name "Norm Dixon", as well as music reviews.

Terry has made amazing progress in the past year. Despite being completely paralyzed down his left side, his determination has enabled him to progress from being unable to speak, swallow or move his body at all, to now being able to talk, read, balance himself in his wheelchair and stand with assistance.

Terry standing on Katoomba Street selling Green Left Weekly every Saturday morning, come rain, snow or sunshine, was a well-known sight to Blue Mountains locals — one that Terry aims to make happen again, albeit in his wheelchair.

Terry has just received a National Disability Insurance Scheme package that provides equipment and some nursing assistance each day to allow him to live at home with myself, who will be his full-time carer. We hope that by the end of March Terry will be living at home, back in front of his computer and engaged with the “real world” again.

One thing the NDIS will not assist with — and where your help will make a huge difference — is the cost of obtaining a vehicle that can be modified to take Terry’s wheelchair.

Because Terry must sit in a special “tilt-in-space” wheelchair to remain safely upright, he cannot travel in a normal car seat. This means it will be difficult for him to attend medical appointments or other activities — or just get out from behind four walls — without a modified vehicle.

The NDIS will contribute towards the cost of converting a vehicle, if it is less than three years old, to take a wheelchair. But the cost of a second-hand vehicle of the type that can be converted for Terry’s wheelchair is around $35,000. So, after selling our car and using Terry’s (tiny) superannuation, we need to raise about $25,000.

We hope this might be achievable through donations from all those who know Terry and Lisa and are able to contribute. If you can help, please request the appeal account details by emailing Lisa and Terry.

Thank you so much for your solidarity, caring and support.

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