Brave Caysie to climb again

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Brave Caysie to climb again

Back in action: Caysie Clark spent over a month in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne after she fell from a tree outside her Leongatha home, and will raise money for the hospital when she abseils 40-feet down a tree on November 30. Photo courtesy of Bert Di Paolo, The Royal Children’s Hospital.

WHEN you fall off the horse, the best thing you can do is get right back up on it, and Caysie Clark is doing just that.
In April this year, the 10-year-old suffered terrible injuries including a fractured skull, fractured spine, a collapsed lung, torn ligaments in her neck and broken toes and fingers after falling two metres from a tree near her home in Leongatha.
Only eight months later, the lively Grade 5 student is gearing up to face her fears and on November 30, will be launched 40-feet into the air, only to abseil back down a tree.
On top of it all, Caysie will be doing it for a good cause; raising money for the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, where she spent just over a month recovering from her accident.
And it is all possible thanks to Mike Coulter from Cheltenham Trees.
Mike said he first read about Caysie’s story when she was featured in the Herald Sun in the lead up to the Good Friday Appeal and it really “struck a chord” with him.
“There was a photo of her sitting in the hospital bed; it was such a tragic story, but she had such a smile in the photo,” he said.
“Working with trees everyday and knowing what the dangers are, I wondered what I could do to cheer Caysie up, so I rang the hospital and said I’ve got a bit of a crazy idea to hopefully get her spirits back up.”
Mike said while he hopes the experience will help Caysie overcome any fears she may have following her accident, that was not his initial intention.
“It was more to give a positive aspect to the whole situation, give her something fun to think about rather than horrendous and painful. And hopefully also teach her there’s a safer way to do those things.
On the day, Caysie will do a one hour training session at the Cheltenham Trees depot on how to use a harness and control a safe descent from the tree.
Once they’re happy she’s mastered the skills, she will be taken to Cheltenham Primary School and put into a cherry picker to take her up to a hight of approximately 40-feet, which is around 12 metres.
“We’ll set up some abseiling lines, clip her in safely and our operations manager James will be on a separate line right next to Caysie, coming down with her and keeping everything safe and under control,” Mike said.
“We’re certainly going to impress on her that the equipment is safety equipment designed for the job, and let all the kids know not to try it at home!”
Leongatha Primary School is holding a gold coin donation for the tree climb and donations can also be left at The Star for community members wishing to contribute to the cause.
Caysie said she’s scared most about jumping out of the cherry picker, but what is she most excited about?
“Jumping out of the cherry picker,” she laughed.
“I’m going to ask if I can go as high as I can go, but I might be a little bit scared.”
Caysie’s mum Kathy is also excited about the big event, and is amazed at how far her daughter has progressed in the eight months since the accident.
“Her body is fantastic; all the breaks are perfect and her spine is great, and she’s got exercises for the next two years just to keep her spine the right shape,” she said.
“We’re just waiting for the brain to see how much it will heal. She gets a lot of fatigue still, which is why she only goes to school until lunchtime, but in saying that, she’s got to go every day.”
When The Star first spoke to Caysie in May, she said she was hoping to recover in time for her Grade 5 camp to Melbourne, and we are glad to report she will be joining her classmates when they catch the train down tomorrow (Wednesday).
“It’s really cool; she’s come a long way,” Kathy said.
And while Caysie hasn’t been climbing any more trees lately, the one from the accident still remains in Hassett Street.
“It’s a council tree, we can’t cut that one down!” Kathy laughed.
“But I feel like we should put a sign on that tree saying ‘Caysie’s Tree’”.
Caysie is hoping to visit the new Royal Children’s Hospital with her mum to personally deliver the money raised from the event and show some of the doctors and nurses photos from the event, as well as catch up with her favourite nurse Candice.

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Posted by on Nov 22 2011. Filed under Community, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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