I never felt the same again; my heart is forever broken

dad and i.jpg

Jemma Boisen

My dad was a hardworking, intelligent man, who provided well for his family. He ate big meals, drank lots of beer and to me was invincible. Throughout 48 years of his life, he never broke a bone nor did he ever fall sick, until one day he was in an accident.

He fell two metres off a scaffolding sheet, landing on his back. At first we thought he would be fine but the fall triggered something poisonous within his body. Dad began eating small meals, drinking less and complaining about a pain in his stomach.

My life was turned upside in an instant when I discovered my dad was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer.

The strongest man I knew soon deteriorated into a frail, broken, old man. Within 14 months my dad’s body fought cancer, he endured 5 long months of chemotherapy, a major surgery on his bowel and was the test subject for a new Canadian drug.

I was 15 at the time when my dad passed away, I watched him take his final breath as I lay next to him in the palliative of care room.

I was the youngest of four children, my mother was a complete wreck, I helped her organise his funeral, the insurance papers and all the other documents. The pressure of having to support my mum and dealing with being the weird, depressed kid at school drove me insane.

I felt that I was forced to grow up immediately, to mature instantly and deal with everything like an adult. I was a young teenage girl, it was hard enough as it was but having to deal with loosing a parent seemed impossible. My body wanted to break down and do nothing but lie in bed and cry, while listening to his message bank on repeat.

I felt there were nowhere to turn, nowhere to run to, and no one to speak to, until I was introduced to my school guidance counsellor. A beautiful lady named Anna, she listened, held my hand and sometimes cried when we talked. She seemed like the only person in the world who knew what I was going through. She understood my pain and my broken heart. She helped me recover and deal with the loss. She introduced me to a scholarship for young adults who have experienced for themselves with cancer or an immediate family member. I wrote one of the best stories in my life and won a $500 scholarship from the Cancer Council.

Even though my life has had a major turn around, I still think of all the wonderful memories that my dad and I shared.

My family is broken. My family is forever incomplete. He was the leader, the head of the table, my teacher and my idol.

He is now my guardian angel and I am still his daddy’s little girl.

Charity event helps families

Jemma Boisen

THE GYMPIE community is giving back to families in need this Christmas in so many ways.

One of the events taking place this weekend is an online auction to raise money for the Daly and Josefski families who lost their beloved mother Nicole (Daly) and father Jeremy (Josefski) in a horror fatal car accident in October.

Everyone is welcome to join in the bidding.

Donations have been received from businesses, the community and private donations from out of town.

There are more than 60 great prizes to be won including cinema tickets, family passes to the Muster, fuel vouchers and alcohol packages.

“With it being so close to Christmas, it is the perfect opportunity for last-minute gift shopping,” organiser Bambi Gosbell said.

Jebson Herrod, owner of Gympie Family Dental has also offered the families a free voucher for basic dental care for as long as he owns that business.

“I wanted to help them out and hope they heal,” Mr Herrod said.

“I have six kids and know how much dental needs cost.”

The auction began last night and ends 6pm tomorrow.

You can follow it via Bambi’s Facebook business page, Photography by Bambi.

Runner finds the silver lining

Jemma Boisen

Cooloola Christian College runner Hannah Pamuk has won silver at the Athletes With Disabilities Nationals and is already looking to her next competitive outing.

This is the second consecutive year Pamuk, 17, has won a silver medal place in the 800m at the Melbourne event.

The runner is known as a T20 in her running category, which refers to an intellectual impairment.

The 800m race included eight other young adults with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairment.

Pamuk started running three years ago when her school encouraged her to compete in the cross country. She then made it to the finals in Tasmania and qualified in fourth position.

The athlete trains for an hour two or three times a week with personal trainer Heidi Dechink.

Pamuk made the Queensland team competing at a national level by qualifying at school followed by the Gympie school region level and, lastly, Wide Bay.

“Hannah has had great support from her school and employer at Gympie Pet Supplies,” the athlete’s mother Julie Gilliland said.

In the future, the runner plans to study animal handling and pursue a career in the Police Force as a dog handler.

“I need to be fit and healthy if I want to work for the police,” she said.

Next year, Pamuk and her mother hope to compete in the Australian Junior Championships in Perth, which is supported by Queensland Athletics.


Honest Saxon finds missing money in a taxi

Jemma Boisen

EARLIER this week Lindy McConville lost a bag full of money but fortunately for her, Saxon Cornwell, 12, found it in a taxi.

The Gympie West student did his good deed for the week when he found the money bag down the side of a taxi seat while on the way to school.

Lindy has disabilities and became very distressed when she discovered that her money was gone. She gets blackout and memory loss so she believed someone had stolen her money when she was in the shopping Centre.

Gary Anderson, a taxi driver who drives Lindy around frequently didn’t notice the money  she left behind.

“I picked up Saxon and other special needs kids every day,” Gary said.

“They always search through the car to find stuff and I tell them they can keep whatever the find.”

Saxon was excited when he found the money in the car. He was amazed to see so many $50 notes in a bag.

“I haven’t seen that much money in my life,” Saxon said.

Gary contacted his boss, Barry Fallon, who then found out who the money belonged to.

Mr Fallon is close friends with Lindy and her family.

Lindy’s mother, Narelle Parry, was very happy when she discovered someone found her daughter’s money.

“Lindy and the family are very thankful for Saxon’s honest and Lindy would love to reward Saxon,” Narelle said.

Debbie Cornwell, Saxon’s grandmother was very pleased to hear about her grandson’s honest.

“He is a good boy that loves to play softball. I am so proud of him for telling the truth,” Mrs Cornwell said.

Low acts add to Lindsay’s misfortunes

Jemma Boisen

THEY say bad luck comes in threes, and for Lindsay McConville she has had her fair share of bad luck.

Lindsay was diagnosed at 11 years-of-age with an aggressive brain tumour. Doctors gave her a life expectancy of six months to two years but after many surgeries and another tumour she is now 39 years old.

Lindsay is mentally and physically disabled and suffers from epilepsy and her right side of her body has nerve damage so she needs the support from a walker.

In the last year, Lindsay has been robbed three times, each time losing items from her purse.

The first occurrence she lost more than $800 from her purse while she was in her unit. The second time only $30 was taken, while she was a sleep and from a person she thought was her friend and only recently, while at the shops she was robbed again of her money and cards.

“I don’t know what is wrong with society…I don’t understand why anyone would want to take advantage of a disabled person,” Lindsay’s mother, Narelle Parry said.

Lindsay cherishes the little bit of independence she has.

She lives in her disability unit with her husband and has daily visits from her carers from Bravo Disability Service Network.

Narelle, Lindsay and her carers are meeting up to discuss future plans for Lindsay’s safety.

“We have to think about her safety and we might have to put her in a home.”

The police have been notified but there are no leads yet on who stole Lindsay’s money.

If you know anything please contact police.

Is the doctor still in?

Jemma Boisen

HISTORY imbues the walls of the Kingston House.

As you walk through the hallway of the iconic Gympie Restaurant you can feel it has plenty of stories to tell – and some of them are ghost stories.

Kingston House was built in 1901 and has had many owners but one resident seems to still lurk.

In the 1930s the Cunningham’s turned the house into a private and maternity hospital.

Dr Cunningham and Dr John Stanley practiced in the building but unfortunately under mysterious circumstances, Dr Stanley was found dead in his room by Dr Cunningham’s wife.

It is said that Dr Stanley had finished his work for the day and was on his way to a social function at the golf club but suspiciously overdosed on insulin.

After the death, Dr Cunningham and his wife divorced, Dr Cunningham moved to Tasmania, while his wife was sent to a hospital from suffering shock.

Throughout the ensuing years, the building has had a number of owners and residents.

Kim Jones took over the building in 1996 and believes someone still haunts the place.

“My first scary experience happened within the first year of buying the building,” she said yesterday.

“I saw glimpses of a dark shadow flicker past the restaurant and the bar.

“Most of my staff over the years have heard footsteps and have seen a dark figure in the doorway but as they turned to look, the figure was gone.”

Kim’s spookiest experience happened at midnight when she was sitting by the fire place ready to go to bed, as she walked to the door the CD player turned on and music started to play.

She walked back to the CD player and turned it off, trying to convince herself it wasn’t the ghost who did it.

Kingston House guests have told Kim that they feel many different spirits in the building. Kim believes that the history of the Kingston House is still very much alive with their resident ghost, Dr Stanley.

“He is a friendly ghost and we don’t feel threatened,” she said.

“My staff and I feel his presence every once and a while.”

One of the most recent sightings was last Saturday, one of Kim’s staff members saw a dark shadow walk from one end of the veranda to the other, passing the doorway.

Kim believes Dr Stanley stays in the house because he hopes someone will reveal the truth about his mysterious death.

His ghost may be heard…

Jemma Boisen

HOW would you feel if you heard footsteps coming down the stairs, to then turn around to see no one there?

Or be the only person in the building and hear a voice yell out to you?

The firefighters and the cleaners at the Gympie’s fire station are convinced the 75-year-old building is haunted.

Firefighter, Matthew Phillips reckons the spirit that resides in the station belongs to Henry Bennett a former firefighter.

The firefighters have nicknamed their friendly ghost “Mick”.

The story told throughout the station is that in the 1940s Mick was on the top level of the building when he had a heart attack and fell three storeys to his death. .

One experience that stands out for Mr Phillips is when he was in the main office and heard footsteps coming down the stairs.

“There are only four fire fighters on at each shift. There were two of us in the main office and we heard heavy footsteps coming down the stairs.

“We both turned around expecting to see someone at the door but no one was there,” Mr Phillips said.

“As soon as the sun goes down, the cleaners pack their things and leave. They refuse to work at night since a cleaner heard a male voice downstairs when there was no one else around.

“The cleaner heard a voice say ‘come give me a hand’.”

Mr Phillips has been at the Gympie fire station for 15 years and even though the spooky presence makes the hairs stand up on the back of his neck he would still go up to the top level at night, whereas some of the other firefighters say it is too creepy up there after dark.

Mr Phillips believes Mick’s spirit has stayed in the building for so many years because he enjoyed being a firefighter.

Darren the ghost hunter takes on haunted houses

Jemma Boisen

APPARENTLY there are plenty of things around the Gympie region that go bump in the night and there is one man who has experienced more of it than anyone.

Founder of the Paranormal Paratek group, Darren Davies, 44, has travelled all through Queensland investigating supposedly “haunted” houses and buildings, more than a few of those in Gympie.

Shadows, eerie voices and all kinds of strange things have happened at the Railway Hotel on Station Rd, on board the nearby Mary Valley Rattler and at the Empire Hotel in Mary St.

People living and working there heard doors open by themselves or saw the silhouettes of – it was enough to make them call the Paranormal Paratek team to research the history of the locations.

The investigations took place in 2011, revealing no evidence of paranormal activity at the Empire and only minimal activity at the Railway Hotel.

But the Rattler proved to be the scariest “place” of them all.

The team of four used a range of different equipment, worth more than $20,000 and including energy monitoring systems, meters, audio recorders, shadow detection devices, surveillance cameras and trigger devices.

They carried out their investigation overnight and saw and heard some weird stuff.

The team experienced flashes of white shadows running through the old carriages.

“The carriages were locked up and no one but my team and I were inside the Rattler. We could hear loud bangs from one end of the carriage then suddenly at the other end.

“It was definitely a spooky place at night time,” Mr Davies said.

Mr Davies has been interested in spirits since he was young, when he had a terrifying personal experience.

We all have had those nightmares about ghosts and then being too scared to hang our feet or hands over the side of the bed in fear of someone or something was going to reap us out of the sheets.

When he was just 13 years old, Mr Davies experienced his worst nightmare in a haunted lighthouse in Sydney where his family lived.

He was sleeping peacefully in his bed when suddenly icy, cold, hands ripped him through the sheets to the end of his bed.

“My experience when I was 13 was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me but it intrigued me to learn more and start up an organisation,” Mr Davies said.

It wasn’t until 2010 that he created the group and bought the equipment.

The team is taking a break at the moment but still researching locations.

Paranormal Paratek would love to return to Gympie to see if any other places are haunted but in the future they plan to investigate away from the coast in North Queensland.

Pets posing with Santa

Jemma Boisen

Four legs, two fins and furry coats – all types of animals are lining up for a Christmas photo with Santa.

Bring your animal friend to the Goldfields Plaza on Sunday December 20.

Santa Paws is an annual event and major fundraiser for the RSPCA.

In previous years all animals have been welcomed including guinea pigs, alpacas, fish and even snakes can come see Santa.

The Santa Paws is held from 9am to noon and only costs $15 for a photo, where all proceeds are donated to the RSPCA.

If you don’t have a pet to bring to Santa, the Gympie shelter is overfilling with animals begging to have a home.

“We are at crisis point at the shelter. We have over 100 animals to be adopted,” RSPCA Gympie volunteer, Evelyn Aldridge said.

Space is running out so the RSPCA has created a $99 Tradies Special on working dogs instead of the normal price of $315.

“We have lots of staffies, kelpies and cattle dogs for the $99 special and most of our adult cats are on special for only $20,” Evelyn said.

It is extremely important to remember before adopting a pet that you have a suitable environment, keep up with their vaccinations and plan to have a long time commitment with the animal.

To donate to the RSPCA come along to the Santa Paws day or visit the Gympie shelter to adopt a furry friend.

Fitness a ‘snap’ at new Gympie gym

Jemma Boisen

MORE than 250 people walked through the doors of Gympie’s new Snap Fitness gym last week. .

Owner Tudor Vasile was extremely pleased to see lots of people coming to his business.

“I felt that Gympie needed to be given a gym that has premium products that can only be found in three other gyms across Australia.”

“There are no other gyms like Snap Fitness in the Gympie region,” Mr Vasile said.

Mr Vasile grew up in Gympie, to then move to Brisbane where he was a professional indoor soccer player, who played for Queensland.

“I played soccer for a long time and it got me into the health and fitness business,” Mr Vasile said.

In 2012, he opened his first Snap Fitness in Indooroopilly, Brisbane.

With a diploma and a degree in business with a double major in marketing and advertising, Mr Vasile wants to achieve the best out of the Gympie gym.

“In the future, I hope Gympie will become one of the best health and fitness centres in the region. I plan to make Snap Fitness not only a gym but an educational centre,” Mr Vasile said.

The gym offers the most up-to-date Android cardio equipment in the country, free weights and unlimited access to classes in yoga, circuit, boxing and international spin room.

Mr Vasile believed that there was a gap in the Gympie market for offering fitness equipment, crèche and health and fitness advice.

“Gympie deserves to have something this good,” Mr Vasile said.

Snap Fitness is located at 15 Cross St, Gympie.