David's Story

David and his Order of Australia Medal


Condition: Neurogenic bladder due to spinal cord injury
Uses: Intermittent & indwelling catheters
Challenges: Urinary tract infections, mobility


A Lifetime of Service

Originally from the UK, David has been living in Australia for 44 years, and currently lives on his own in a purpose built flat, just 2 blocks from the Maroochy River. Almost 50 years ago and then married with two young children, the former apprentice blacksmith and handyman suffered a spinal cord injury while felling a tree.

Five years on, David moved with his young family to Australia. David had grown up in Scouting and encouraged his son’s participation, which led to a 35-year involvement, volunteering as a leader and trainer, teaching skills to both disabled and able-bodied youth. What he most enjoys about Scouting is the knowledge exchange – he loves working with youth to share his skills and build theirs.


David Kayaking with his home made kayak chair strapped on the back

Adapt and Improvise

David has worked hard over the years to help adapt equipment for himself and others participating in outdoor pursuits. He worked on changing the blade shape on a paddle for a young person who wasn’t able to use both arms to paddle a canoe. He also built his own accessible seat in the canoe and beach wheelchair out of parts of a golf buggy. He would then tie this chair onto the back of the canoe and head off for overnight expeditions up the Maroochy River.

He also worked for 21 years with the Sunshine Coast Link Scheme, providing respite to families of children with a disability. In David’s own words, “to volunteer gives you a reason to get up in the morning”. David’s lifetime of volunteering and service have been recognised by his receiving many awards, including an Order of Australia.

David practising Archery

Bladder and Bowel Considerations

David has a neurogenic bladder and bowel due to the spinal cord injury, a condition which is largely characterised by a loss of voluntary control. Every 6 months David undergoes a cystoscopy with Botox injections to his bladder, which helps to maintain his bladder capacity. David self-catheterises most of the time, but when health or mobility becomes an issue, he uses an indwelling catheter with a leg bag. When using an indwelling catheter, David uses Microdox Bladder Rinse once a week to flush the catheter and bladder. David also takes UroFem D-Mannose tablets daily, doubling the dose if he notices any signs of a urinary tract infection. Bowel issues have presented another challenge, so 12 years ago he made the decision to have a stoma inserted. While initially incredibly difficult, he found this procedure life-changing and wishes he had made the decision to do it sooner.

Up until recently, David used a manual wheelchair. He previously competed in archery and field sports, later pursuing water sports such as canoeing and sailing. Shoulder issues forced a transition to a power chair, but he still gets out to the riverfront to spend time with friends and he is actively involved in the lives of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.