THE STORY OF CHRIS
Chris was born in Wagga Wagga on the 4th of December 1971. He spent his young childhood years in the small town of Coolamon where he thrived growing up in the country lifestyle.
In 1984 his family moved to Canberra where his father owned a butcher shop. He had a wonderful time growing up with lots of outdoor activities , mixed with the right ratio of discipline and love.
His three sisters and two brothers always kept him grounded whether it was babysitting the younger siblings, to having to ask them for help after his accident.
At the end of 1989 he landed an apprenticeship as a wood machinist and worked at a sawmill. Where he was responsible for sharpening all the blades for the chippers and six headed planners and keeping the machines running. He attended Newcastle Technical College as a block release, meaning he would spend one week a month at Newcastle's Technical College .
Along with his apprenticeship he worked on Saturdays at his father's butcher shop, often with a huge hang over .
Chris joined the Army reserves when he was 17 and 9 months and was posted to the 1st 19th battalion out of Inglburn barracks .
He also enjoyed firing all the weapons from assault rifles to grenades and RPGs.. He was awarded a medal for the best shot in his platoon .
At the end of his first year of his apprenticeship he went for a holiday with his close friends to Batemans Bay, where his life would change forever.
Chris had his accident while swimming at the beach, as he dove over a wave hitting his head on the sand causing a compression fracture of the 5th and 6th vertebra.
He can remember the accident as if it was yesterday. He recalls seeing a flash of light then he remained fully conscious and found himself face down in the water and unable to rollover. It felt like an eternity until his good friend Dez rolled him over, who Chris is forever grateful.
He was then unable to move and had trouble breath .He was then taken to Canberra hospital where he had a spinal fusion of the 5th and 6th vertebra. Which left him with a titanium plate and screws.
"Shit Happens "
Once his neck was stabilized he was flown to a Sydney to a spinal ward at Prince Henry hospital. While he was recovering from his operation he developed a stomach ulcer which left him vomiting up blood and was marked down was nil by mouth for two weeks. He was also unable to move anything below his neck due to swelling around his spinal cord.
It was at this time he hit rock bottom and asking questions like “Why me? and comments like “I would rather be dead.”
As the swelling around his spinal cord decreased he gained more and more movement.
After all the swelling went down he was left with the use of his shoulder muscles, biceps but no triceps ,wrist extension but no flexion and unable to move his fingers or thumps.
Of the back muscles he hause the Rhomboids, about 10 percent of his latts and most of his upper back muscles. Because of the damage done to his spinal cord his strongest side is his left, the only difference is that he is missing the use of one little muscle in my forearm and one in the shoulder.
Once Chris’s medical problems were under control the long road of rehabilitation started. He had to learn how to live again which included how to feed himself, how to operate wheelchairs so he could become mobile . The next step (pardon the pun) was to start the process mentally what the rest of his life would be like as a quadriplegic..
But as the saying goes
“Get busy living or get busy dying “
After 7 long hard months of rehabilitation he went to live with his family in Canberra . He started to feel more and more like a burden on his parents and wanting his own independence. He decided to moved to Sydney and stayed at a transitional accommodation facility ran by ParaQuad.
Looking back on his life he was very lucky to have parents, siblings, relations and friends that supported him through this time and that moving out to gain his independence was the best move he made.
While living in Berala, Sydney he met a bunch of guys around his age and with spinal cord injuries ,with a range of different levels.
There were about six people with a C5/C6 breaks caused by a range of accidents, the most common being from diving and football accidents.
Being around people who had experienced the same problems as him was a great motivator .As they learnt of each other we gained conference and the mindset of
“There always someone worse off than you ”.
Chris moved into his new house in 1994, not knowing anyone on the Central Coast felt a bit daunting. Once he built a team of carers he started to integrate himself into the community.
He landed a job at the local Internet Café he then over the years completed courses in Desk Top Publishing, certificate 3 in information and Technology, video editing, aquaponics and webpage designing he also dabbled in Options trading and thoroughbred racing without much luck.
Eternal Bliss was owned by a syndication of 10
“Horse racing is a mugs game”
The majority of his work involved designing webpages and tutoring. He also had a few businesses.
These where Chris Campbell Graphics, Rough N Tough Garden Designs where he designed things to be made from old fence palings like mini wishing wells and wooden chests amongst other things.
In 2000 he set up a business with a paraplegic from England called “Coast to Coast Wheelchair Adventures “. The business involved arranging accessible accommodation, equipment, transport and personal carers for over seas disabled tourists coming to the Sydney Olympics.
He also had a clothing label “Dead Dingo Clothing “which he had a printer that could print on to materials where he designed funny t-shirts.
Round 2015 Chris experienced a run of medical problems in which he was close to death several times.
He then did some soul searching and decided to pick up his life and move into a granny flat at his parent' place . After 25 years of living alone with just his dog and having a private and independent life. It was with a heavy heart he made the biggest decision of his life.
It meant he would have to put the burden back on his parents and would lose most of his privacy and independence.
He is grateful for his support although it may not seem like it.
Since this time at his parents he is still adapting to a living with people and the loss of privacy.
On the bright side he has the sense of security of having someone in the house at night he also gets to see his Nephews and nieces alot more.
Chris still spends most days painting, and have has organized and held three art exhibitions.
In the June of 2017 Chris had problems with his heart which lead to internal bleeding in which his heart stop beating and he was not expect to live .
After defying the odds and surviving the night only to be told he had contracted influenza .
After an operation to drain 1.4 litres of fluid from his chest cavity , he was then overdosed with pain killers.
In 2020 he re-launched Dead Dingo Designs after buying a vinyl cutter and a heat press. He will be producing designs for clothing , mugs, stickers, decals and more .
Chris is a volunteered to Rural Bush Fire Service (NSW) where he is involved in social media and promotional work .
He has written a children's book "Dusty's Plan "
that brings awareness to Bush Fire evacuation plans.
He is very grateful for the support of all his family , friends , personal carers and especially to his mother and father for the sleepless nights wondering if he would pull through from the countless operations , i tip my hat and say a big Thank you .