One catastrophic day changed the course of Ken Kellow's life. But nothing can dim his innate passion for family, V8s and living life to the full, with support from Barwon's Home & Community Care team.
Panel beating may not sound like a creative pursuit, but Ken Kellow has the hands of a master craftsman. In the shed at the back of his home in Geelong, Victoria, is the shell of a vintage Ford Capri, the latest in a series of cars Ken has lovingly restored to their former glory.
"I enjoy getting out and kicking around in the shed; that's how I fill my days," Ken says.
Once a hobby fitted in around a busy working week, one catastrophic day in 2015 has given Ken more time at home than he ever bargained for. Part way through his shift at Australia Post Ken was clipped by a truck, sending him under its wheels.
"He was in the Alfred Hospital for 158 days," Ken's wife Heather recounts with quiet precision. "He had 37 operations. He spent six weeks in intensive care.
"During his surgeries we discovered he had bowel cancer as well."
Odds like these would put a strain on any relationship, but Ken and Heather are a team. All they needed were some extra members to share the load. "We fought to bring him home to Geelong," Heather says. "We knew we'd need a lot of support but we were determined.
"The social worker at McKellar matched us up with Mercy Health Home & Community Care, and got a program set up under the NDIS."
Now reliant on a wheelchair to get around, Ken has no time to dwell on negatives and a lot of time for the newest additions to Team Kellow: nurses Super Sall (Sally Miller), Good Nurse Katie (Katie O'Toole), and five regular carers.
"I love the team coming in; they're like family to us now. They come in seven days a week, and they work in with us too; if Heather's running late getting home they'll often just to stay and chat. They never say 'I've got to go now' if there's a reason to stay.
"Anything you ask them to do they'll do — it's always 'yeah, we can do that!' That's great in my book."
Read Ken's full story in the autumn issue of Our Voice.