AN APPEAL has gone out to all skiers and boarders, right across Australia, to get behind an appeal to support Australia’s greatest downhill skier Steve Lee.
A Falls Creek back country expert and guide in recent years, Steve, his sister Kerry Lee Dodd and other family members have been icons of the resort and the Australian snow sports industry for many years.
But as lots of people in the snow community will be aware, the Olympic skiing legend suffered a massive stroke at home in Falls Creek in early September.
His attack happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, September 6, but he wasn’t discovered until the afternoon, on the floor of his bedroom – crucial time had been lost.
His sister has kept the snow family informed of Steve’s progress in recent weeks but had to come out this week with some of the realities of the unfolding tragedy, in the hope that everyone gets around him.
“The reality of Steve’s condition has begun to set in. The rehab team have confirmed that Steve will need 24/7 care for the rest of his life,” said Kerry.
“Whilst we hold hope for recovery, we are now planning for the harsh reality that Steve will need much more monetary support than we could ever have imagined.
“Further from the extensive medical costs that will follow him through his life, he will need modified living arrangements, disability vehicles, ongoing occupational therapy and many more things that our beloved Steve most definitely never budgeted for ever needing.
“While the government, through National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may cover some basics, we are aiming to give Steve life choices and he really needs out help,” she said.
His sisters Kerry and Tracy have taken charge of ‘Steve’s Fight Back’ campaign, supporting their mother Noelene and Steve’s daughter Layla but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he’s allowed only one regular visitor who must remain in full PPE due to the risk of infection.
Kerry provided some of the medical issues Steve is battling in the Wangaratta Hospital.
“Steve’s brain is very swollen, which is expected following the clot that was left unattended for so long after his stroke,” said Kerry.
“His stroke was large and located on the right side of his brain, meaning the areas around the stroke are needing to take on what the lost brain tissue used to do… success of this is unpredictable.
“The stroke was likely caused by carotid webbing that affects normal blood flow to the brain, accompanied by an irregular and periodic heartbeat… meaning Steve is on medication to reduce his risk of a secondary stroke.”
Steve is a three time Olympian and the second ever Australian to claim victory on the Alpine World Cup circuit.
He is a loved and respected member of the skiing community and he desperately needs your help.
Steve is currently doing rehab facility in Wangaratta and is paralysed on his left side. He will need ongoing treatment, support and assistance to get him back to something that resembles a normal life again.
Steve will need significant financial support in order for this to happen and Snow Australia is calling on the broader snow community to help out.
“All donations made through the Australian Sports Foundation portal are tax deductible. We urge you to support Steve and to encourage others to do the same.”
After you donate you can follow Steve’s journey on the Steve Lee Fightback Facebook page or use #steveleefightback on social.