BIG THANKS: Don Syme of East Lismore thinks his neighbour Leanne Wade is a godsend for the help she has given him after he injured his ankle at Whian Whian Falls.
BIG THANKS: Don Syme of East Lismore thinks his neighbour Leanne Wade is a godsend for the help she has given him after he injured his ankle at Whian Whian Falls. Cathy Adams

Don’s got a guardian angel

THE help received by East Lismore man Don Syme after he suffered a severely broken leg has revitalised his faith in human kindness, and motivated a public thank you.

Without the help of strangers, hospital staff and most of all his neighbour Leanne Wade, life could have been very different for Mr Syme after he broke both bones in his left leg and separated the ligament from his ankle joint.

Stuck at home and wheelchair-bound, Mr Syme was supported by Ms Wade who helped with cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene.

She also spent time with Mr Syme to make sure he didn't get too bored while recovering.

The former nurse assistant had the skills for the job, she said, but she is humble about her contribution and was "embarrassed" when she found out about Mr Syme's public thank you.

"Helping out just seemed the natural thing to do ... I'm living next door," Ms Wade said.

Mr Syme was so impressed with her attitude and help he has taken out an advertisement in today's edition of The Northern Star (on page 4) to publicly thank her, as well as the hospital staff and the strangers who helped when the accident happened.

He was hiking at Minyon Falls in October when he put a foot on slippery rock and fell into water.

He couldn't walk on the foot at all, even with a walking stick, but had no idea at the time he would need 15 screws and two metal plates to put his leg back together.

Mr Syme called out to four other hikers who carried him more than 100m back to his car.

Two of the people were from the Spaghetti Circus in Mullumbimby and the other two he didn't know anything about, he said.

"It restores your faith in humanity when something like this happens and people go out of their way to help," he said.

"I'm going to walk again, and I'll be okay.".

Mr Syme expects to have the screws taken out of his leg in January and will start physiotherapy after that.



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