Lost love inspires care campaign
FEDOR Stavast's life changed forever in 2001, after a car crash left him paralysed.
Aged just 30, Mr Stavast, a professional golfer, was transferred to an aged-care facility because he needed 24-hour care.
His partner, Mira Koopman, said aged care was the only option for him.
“I couldn't provide that level of care for him,” she said.
But the surroundings were difficult for him to cope with and Ms Koopman said her partner simply gave up the will to live. He died in January 2006.
Ms Koopman, from Bargara, is now campaigning and fund-raising for Youngcare, which aims to provide dignified full-time care for young people, in the hope facilities will eventually be available in regional areas such as Bundaberg.
Youngcare was established at Brisbane in 2005 and is first aiming to roll out to all Australian capital cities.
“If Fedor had lived in a Youngcare facility, he would have lived longer,” she said.
“Aged care is an end station for old people. It's not a place for young people.”
Ms Koopman said dealing with her partner's life-changing injuries had been incredibly stressful for her and the whole family.
It was not until October 2002, when Mr Stavast was out of a coma and underwent intensive training that he was able to communicate.
“We found out he still had all his memory but he couldn't speak, eat or move,” she said.
An A4 piece of paper was transformed into a communication board where Mr Stavast was able to point to one letter of the alphabet at a time to form words.
“It took forever to get one word out of him,” Ms Koopman said.
She said the worst experience was when she gave birth to their daughter, Isa.
“I was in one side of the hospital, where it was really happy and everyone was giving birth, and Fedor was in another part of the hospital where there wasn't anybody happy,” she said.
Ms Koopman will hold a Coral Coast 4 Youngcare charity golf day in memory of Mr Stavast.
Youngcare founder David Conry will be guest speaker on the day.
“People can just come and listen to him and donate at 2.30pm,” she said.
Ms Koopman is also looking for business sponsors.