By Brett Kennedy
GEELONG man Billy Bubb has loved motorbikes since he was big enough to ride one but his family now dreads the moment when the 22 year old is told he is unlikely to walk again following a New Year’s Eve riding accident near Beachport.
Billy is currently receiving treatment for a severed spinal chord, broken back and other injuries at Royal Adelaide Hospital following the December 31 accident, which occurred mid-morning in sand dunes north of Beachport Conservation Park.
As her brother remains sedated, Amy said the circumstances leading to the accident remained unclear but heaped praise on the response of good Samaritans in the area at the time who helped treat Billy and guide emergency services to the scene.
It was a tragic end to what was supposed to be a fun-filled camping trip for Billy and some close friends, returning to the Limestone Coast where he has previously indulged in his passion for the outdoors – riding motorbikes and four-wheel driving.
Amy said the accident occurred in an area without mobile phone reception, with a person nearby able to use their vehicle’s navigation system to provide coordinates to Billy’s friends, who rushed to find an area where emergency services could be contacted.
Meanwhile, another bystander also offered assistance, providing a first-aid kit to help treat Billy.
“They were very lucky there were people who realised there had been an accident,” Amy said.
“Alone they wouldn’t have been able to keep an eye on Billy and get help.”
Amy said she was contacted by her brother’s friends after emergency services had been called, with information scarce.
“I was waiting to hear back how serious it was before I called my mum because I didn’t want to call her without information,” Amy said.
Billy was airlifted to Mount Gambier where he was transferred to a medical flight to Adelaide, arriving at Royal Adelaide Hospital and undergoing emergency surgery.
“We were told straight away they knew his back was broken and he was having some issues with his lungs,” Amy said.
Five days on and Billy has already started taking “baby steps” in his rehabilitation, showing positive signs when his sedation was reduced.
However, he remains sedated due to showing signs of distress when his levels are eased.
Billy’s parents remain at his side in what has been a testing time for the family of five, which took over the Ormond Road Fish and Chips business just five months ago.
“We’ve only owned it for five months so we can’t afford to really close it at the moment,” Amy said.
It is hoped Billy can be transferred to a Melbourne hospital in the coming weeks to continue his treatment and rehabilitation.
Amy was compelled to launch an online fundraiser for her brother, citing the mounting medical expenses and foreshadowed costs to support Billy’s needs in the future.
In just three days the GoFundMe campaign has already raised over $33,000 for Billy.
“We’ve been blown away with so much support we’ve already had,” Amy said.
However, Amy said the “scariest” part would be when Billy learns of his injuries.
“My brother is not one to sit still, he keeps busy every moment of the day” she said.
“He’s not good at being told ‘no’ and he will do everything he can to get his life back to what it was.
“He is strong enough and motivated – we will do everything we can to make that possible.”
Amy hoped her family’s hardship would also serve as a message to other motorbike riders to wear protective equipment.
“We are very lucky Billy had all of his protective gear on,” she said.
“It would have been a completely different story if he wasn’t wearing it.
“We hope Billy’s story will remind someone to wear their helmet and their neck brace.”
Visit https://gofund.me/50540513 to support the Bubb family.