Mine tragedy family faces new devastation
THE last three decades have been devastating for the Springer family.
They have endured more than any family should - the loss of their business, death, losing everything in a house fire and tragic disease.
The family of Daniel Springer who was tragically killed in a mining accident at Goonyella in 2017 faced further heartache this week.
Kerry Springer's cousin Lisa Faulkner is currently helping to plan the funeral of her nephew, Rockhampton boxer Sam Walker, after he lost his life in an accident last Saturday night.
Amidst her grief at the loss of her beloved nephew and godson, Ms Faulkner is asking Central Queenslanders to lend a hand and help her cousin recover from a stroke and brain infection.
"My cousin Kerry (Springer) is the kindest and most caring woman I have ever known," Ms Faulkner said.
"She has had so much tragedy in her life, but she can still wake up and write down five things she is grateful for every day."
About 30 years ago, Mrs Springer - who went to school at Yeppoon's St Ursula's College, her husband Reon and their five children lived in Longreach, running a successful carpet business.
One night, she woke to find her family's home on fire. They lost everything - even their car.
Her three-year-old daughter Cristi had burns to 60 per cent of her body and Mrs Springer sustained burns to 40 per cent of her body.
"While they were in Brisbane getting treatment in the burns unit, unbeknown to them, their business manager was embezzling money from the business," Ms Faulkner said.
"So by the time they came home, after many months, they'd also lost the business.
"Kerry refused to let it take her down. She was grateful her little girl survived, but not without scars and years of treatment."
Determined to get their lives back on track, the family relocated to Mackay to try and rebuild.
In 1999, tragedy struck again when Mrs Springer was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to undergo brain surgery and radium treatment.
Despite everything, she remained positive and inspired all those around her as she battled through recovery, losing some sensation on her left side.
On August 5 2017, the family's lives were again turned upside down when their youngest son Daniel, 30, was involved in a mining accident at Goonyella mine and passed away the following day.
Daniel left behind his wife, Carmela, and an 11-month-year-old son, Wolf.
His wife elected for his organs to be used and the donations saved seven people, including one child.
The loss completely devastated Mrs Springer.
"I remember talking to her one day and she told me as hard as the pain was to lose him, she was grateful she got to see him get married and become a dad," Ms Faulkner said.
"I thought to myself, 'you are truly the most inspirational woman I have ever known'."
Then two months to the day after losing Daniel, the family received another blow with the loss of Mrs Springer's brother-in-law John, who was killed in a head-on motorbike accident.
On August 1 this year, Ms Faulkner received a call that Mrs Springer had suffered a stroke, which turned out to be an abscess on her ear bone.
This abscess had disintegrated the bone behind her ear and caused an infection in her brain.
Last Friday, she underwent a five-hour surgery to treat the infection, but with many surgeries and recovery time ahead, the family is struggling to stay afloat financially.
"Reon is by her side every day. They are hard-working, humble people and Reon is a (sub-contractor), so no work means so pay," Ms Faulkner said.
Ms Faulkner decided to help the family by setting up a GoFundMe page on August 1, with $5960 of donations pouring onto the site up until yesterday.
"This family needs some urgent help, so Reon can stay by her side through the coming months," she said.
"They also have to pack up their (high-set) rental home and move to a (low-set) home as Kerry won't be able to live in a (high-set) home any more.
"I love my cousin so much and if I could be half the kind person she is I would be happy, she is my hero and I inspire to be like her everyday."