Kate Mac given ‘big, warm hug’

INSPIRATIONAL former Tamworth woman Kate McDonald has likened the support and generosity emanating from her home town to “a big warm hug”.

DEEPLY GRATEFUL: Kate McDonald, with her boyfriend Dave Colton, takes receipt of a cheque for $75,000 to assist with her recovery from a severe spinal injury.

The 28-year-old was this week presented with a cheque for $75,000 raised through several community events designed to help with her ongoing medical bills.

Doctors warned Ms McDonald she had “little chance” of ever walking again after suffering a severe spinal injury in a trampoline accident in January.

The keen sportswoman was initially paralysed from the shoulders down and faced the prospect of being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

“It was a case of expect the worst, but hope for the best,” she said.

“They gave a pretty grim prognosis that I wouldn’t walk again, but that I might be able to improve enough to operate an electric wheelchair.”

But Ms McDonald has defied all expectations to be walking with the assistance of a crutch and even hopes to return to work as a psychologist early next year.

A series of events held in recent months, culminating in a gala dinner at West Tamworth League Club on August 1, has raised vital funds to assist her recovery.

While with spinal injuries the most dramatic improvements are usually seen in the first six months, Ms McDonald expects more gains to be made over the next 18 months.

“I’m simply overwhelmed by the support and generosity from everyone,” she said. “(The money) will really help with my ongoing rehabilitation.”

The fundraisers have seen countless people dig deep to donate money, but it was the kindness showed by one 9-year-old boy that struck a particular chord with Ms McDonald.

Seth Campbell, who is in Year 3 at Currabubula Public School, heard of her plight and donated $30 of his birthday money to the appeal.

“It was just beautiful to get that kind of response,” Ms McDonald said. “It’s one of those things that really puts everything intoperspective.”

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