PHILLIP Island’s Hayden Marshall will be appearing on the Channel 9 TV show ‘This Time Next Year’ in two weeks’ time.
Hayden was practising gymnastics on the family trampoline in September 2016 when he landed awkwardly and had to be airlifted to hospital, where he was diagnosed as a quadriplegic.
Doctors said Hayden had a 3 per cent chance of walking following his injury – known as a ‘complete C5’ spinal cord injury.
But the 19-year-old’s not letting anything slow him down.
We can’t tell you what his pledge is, but it is “major”.
“It’s pretty amazing,” says mum Sharron.
Earlier this year, he began using the spin bike on his own without having his feet strapped in. It seems unbelievable, but he’s doing it, through years of hard work and grit to move his hips.
As a complete quadriplegic, he shouldn’t have any working tricep muscles, but through training, he’s regained them – alongside muscles in his biceps, forearm, wrists and chest. He’s also trained their Labradoodle, Chase, to do several tricks.
Like most youth, Hayden’s working towards his 120 hours to gain his probationary licence.
A car with the number plate ‘1 NERVE’ has been modified so he can drive it and he’s already up to about 30 hours.
It took him almost an hour to get in the car for the first time. Now it’s about 10 minutes.
The number plate’s his slogan – one nerve at a time – because it’s about establishing those connections between his brain and muscles.
Tom Ware of Ken Ware NeuroPhysics Therapy in Queensland has been working with Hayden to help him regain function of his muscles.
Tom’s even moved down to Victoria, so the family doesn’t have to travel up to Queensland.
Hayden can dress himself in the morning and have a shower, cook breakfast – all feats he couldn’t accomplish in the aftermath of his injury.
And he’s finding crawling’s getting easier as his strength is increasing.
But Hayden, and parents Sharron and Ian, say none of this would be possible without the community’s support and backing, as well as the work and dedication from Tom Ware.
“We have such an amazing, supportive community,” says Sharron.
“It’s not just Hayden’s journey, it’s the community’s journey. We hope this will inspire other communities to rally together.”
In the months after the accident, a special community festival was held with an attempt at breaking the record for the number of people simultaneously performing a handstand. It was just one of the many ways the community showed their support for the teenager.
Many of the tradies who helped to make their Rhyll home disability-friendly are now working on a new project – accommodation in a house nearby for others with a disability.
The family want to create a home that doesn’t feel like a hospital, but with all the support someone with a disability needs.
Hayden’s played a key role in the project, working out what’s best for people with similar injuries – and other disabilities – as well as heading over to the house to sign for deliveries.
The family’s also received an overwhelming amount of support from Newhaven College – where Hayden completed his schooling after his accident, as well as community members, businesses and others.
They hope that Hayden’s 15 minutes of fame on TV will inspire others for a lifetime to set goals.
He’s been training on average for two to three hours a day for the last few years.
It hasn’t been easy; there’s been highs and lows.
His efforts to accomplish his pledge really ramped up from December to February – followed by the taping of the show. Throughout February, he was averaging about fours of training a day.
During that time, he was awarded the Bass Coast Young Citizen of the Year.
He’s also spoken at Scouts and other public speaking events.
But the strangest and most exciting part of seeing him on TV is that none of the family have seen the footage from Hayden’s 12-month journey.
Only Tom Ware of Ken Ware NeuroPhysics Therapy, Newhaven College principal Gea Lovell and his boss at the YMCA, Rebecca Wilson, have seen it because they were all in the audience for the taping.
It will be shown on Monday, September 23, at 8.40pm on Channel 9.