SURVIVOR: Marty Mayberry lived through meningococcal and now plans to represent Australia as a skier.
SURVIVOR: Marty Mayberry lived through meningococcal and now plans to represent Australia as a skier.

MARTY?S GOOD AS GOLD

By ZOE SATHERLEY

JUST two years ago Marty Mayberry was fighting for his life as meningococcal disease wreaked havoc on his young body.

Both legs had been amputated below the knee. A machine pumped air into his lungs. Another took over for his kidneys which had shut down.

Doctors had told his parents, Gail and Paul Mayberry, of Ewingsdale, that their bright and beautiful middle son, who had just returned from a school excursion to the snow, had a one-in-10 chance of surviving.

Yesterday, speaking in depth of his life-threatening encounter with one of the most frightening and deadly diseases known, Marty beamed with positivity.

"I have had the most incredible opportunities because of what happened to me," said the 18year-old who is in training to represent Australia in skiing at the 2006 Paralympics in Italy.

"I doubt that I would ever have had the opportunity to rep- resent my country at international level otherwise," he said with a grin.

"I am just so grateful to be alive. So grateful to have wonderful friends and family who have stood by me. Life is good. Very good."

Marty said his illness and long rehabilitation had helped him discover a strength he did not know he had.

A passionate skier from the age of five ('my earliest memory is of skiing between dad's legs') Marty was not going to let losing his legs stop him from pursuing the sport he loves.

He remembers little of his early days in hospital when his parents and two brothers kept a 24hour bedside vigil as his body swelled like a balloon while his organs progressively shut down and gangrene set into his legs.

"I had come home from an excursion to the snow with what seemed a slight cold and a general aching feeling in my neck and muscles," he said.



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