Jason “Buddy” Miller – A story of enormous will, courage, strength and determination

All wellbeing visits are different, and in some way they all leave their mark on the visiting Wellbeing Officer. This was especially the case when Norm Pounder, Ian Dodds and Ken Vessey visited a true hero in Jason “Buddy” Miller at the Mona Vale Hospital Rehab Unit. It’s a visit that will remain in their thoughts for a long time.

Buddy was born in Taree and played his junior league with the Chatham Cundle and Taree United JRL Clubs. He always received plenty of support from his parents, Bob and Clare.

It was only through Bob and Clare’s involvement with Mid North Coast Men of League Foundation Committee president Brian Atherton that we were alerted to the fact that “Buddy” was a member of the rugby league community experiencing extremely difficult times.

He told us that everything started with a sore throat which gradually got worse and in October last year he was admitted to Northern Beaches Hospital where he begun a fight for his life.

He was placed in intensive care on life support after being diagnosed with a bacterial infection from both streptococcus and aerococcus that had caused toxic shock syndrome, severe septic shock and was closing down his internal organs. His family were told to prepare for the worst, but five days later “Buddy” woke up – much to the surprise of his surgeons and nurses.

“Buddy” is a single dad and he told us he was not prepared to leave his beautiful seven-year-old daughter Jhayda any time soon. He subsequently underwent extensive surgery which resulted in the amputation of his hands and feet and he spoke with great enthusiasm about his road to recovery.

We were amazed as he sat in his bed cracking jokes with us and telling us of his wonderful experiences with the Sydney Ferries, where he has worked for 10 years. In the coming months Buddy will undergo the fitting of prosthetic limbs, lots of physiotherapy and rehabilitation to continue his life.

Subsequent to our visit our Committee member colleague Geoff Squires, who is also an amputee, popped in to see “Buddy” and discuss the future aspects of his life. “Buddy” said this was invaluable as he gained so much knowledge and so many of his questions were answered.

Buddy expressed his sincere thanks and praise to the entire medical team at Northern Beaches Hospital and Mona Vale Hospital Rehab Unit for their ongoing attention, treatment and care.

We were able to provide some immediate relief benefits through the Foundation to assist in caring for his daughter Jhayda, and we fully explained the Men of League Grant Assistance Scheme and the avenues of support that might be available to him as he progresses through his recovery.

He was pleased that we will stay in contact with him and we presented him with a Men of League polo and cap. In return, Buddy wished the Foundation continued success.

I have to state that “Buddy” is a truly inspirational person, who has to be admired.

Written by Ken Vessey

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