Tamara’s story

Written by Kerrie Alexander

My name is Tamara and I would like to share a little bit of my story and how I became a recipient of a Dunga Derby grant that I am forever grateful for.

At the age of about 11 I was picking up my brother from day care with my mum. When I bent over to pick my brother up and one of his teachers asked my mum what was wrong with my back, as she could see a large protrusion of my spine.

Mum said I’m not sure, but we will go see the doctor and get it checked out. Off we went to the doctor and he sent me for scans of my back.

Once the scans came back the doctor diagnosed me with Scoliosis which is curvature of the spine. My doctor didn’t really know much about this condition so sent me to an Orthopaedic surgeon in Brisbane.

When we saw the Orthopaedic doctor in Brisbane the curvature of my spine was at 55 degrees.

At age 13, I had to have major spinal surgery to correct my scoliosis as the curve had moved to 95 degrees which was crushing my heart and lungs.

We had been told by the surgeon it could only go to 100 degrees before it kills you and it was the worst he had ever seen. Apparently, scoliosis can be recorrected with a brace if caught early enough.

hey inserted two titanium rods, six screws and four hooks.

At the age of 15, I had to have another surgery as my rods in my spine had dislodged.

They re-did the surgery and shaved my right side of my ribs as this is what the doctor thought dislodged my rods. Also, while I was in surgery my right lung was not re-inflated back up properly, so I have trouble with my right lung on occasions.

While I was in surgery having my operation, I also lost my biological father to Leukaemia. This was a very difficult time for me as I could not say goodbye to him … he was on the other side of Brisbane in another hospital.

I’m now 34 years old and I have since had another scoliosis formed from where my rods end in my lower half of my back, down to my tailbone.

My current doctor is keeping an eye on it as there isn’t really much more they can do.

I’m on lots of medication that I need to take daily just to get out of bed. These help me complete simple daily tasks that we all take for granted.

I’m forever grateful to Dunga Derby and Rally for a Cause because they have helped me in more ways than one.

They paid for a years’ worth of treatment for my back, which I have on a weekly basis. I couldn’t afford this as I can only work so many hours a week now, with my health declining as I get older.
In October 2020 I was able to join my Dad “Reg” in his car #29 Fuddy Duddy’s on the four-day day annual Dunga Derby.

I wanted to go to see what it was all about and to thank everyone involved in this amazing cause.
I had such an amazing time that when we got back home, I said to Dad I want to do my own car now so I can help raise more funds to help this worthy cause.

I successfully entered a car and took three other people along for the journey in July-August 2021 this year.

We all had such a great time! So much so that we are going again in 2022. Dunga Derby and Rally for a Cause is like one big family.

I personally want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved. It has made a huge difference to not only to my life but other recipient’s lives as well.

I am forever grateful and will never forget how Dunga Derby and Rally for a Cause has helped make my life that little bit easier.

Thank you for letting me share my story.