Mountainwatch | Reggae Elliss
It has been just over a year since three-time Olympian and Australian ski legend Steve Lee suffered a major stroke at home in Falls Creek.
As a result of the stroke Steve has remained paralysed on his left side but over the past 12 months Steve has worked hard on his rehab. It is tough going but Steve has been making slow progress, drawing on the mental strength that took him to the elite level of World Cup downhill.
While his condition has improved Steve still has a long road to recovery ahead of him, independence and quality of life the key factors he is working towards.
In an interview in this year’s Chillfactor magazine, Steve told me he felt he was making inroads and was “dealing with how to make the most of what I can do personally and physically”.
“I am getting some control and power back, which is good, but I still don’t have any connection with my hamstring, which is essential for walking and many things in life, and I can’t use my left hand,” Steve said. “So, I can raise my arm, but I’ve got no control and I can’t grab stuff and whatnot. So yeah, it’s kind of a waiting game.
“Mobility is the key – being able to get around safely. When you’re in a wheelchair it seems like every single thing is in your way and everything’s tough to get through and pass. And there’s plenty of good people out there that are pulling for me. I’ll just take it step by step and then activity by activity and see what comes at the other end,” he said.
“I understand that it is a long and slow process back, but I’m still hoping I’ll get back to a pretty good level and be able to resume more activities. Probably not what I’d previously consider ‘normal’ activities, I think I had the bar set pretty high!”
After the stroke Steve’s family and friends launched a fundraising campaign under the hashtag #SteveLeeFightBack to cover ongoing costs for care and rehabilitation, and the community has rallied behind them to offer support and donations.
Almost 2000 people have contributed to the fundraiser and a number of sports stars and celebs have donated their time to offer their support.
Steve will continue to need therapies, assistance and significant financial support for the rest of his life. Please follow this link to donate: http://bit.ly/SLFightback
Follow and share #steveleefightback on all social platforms, as well as the ‘Steve Lee’s Support Tribe’ page on Facebook for regular updates.
An Update From Steve’s family
One year has passed since Steve’s life changing stroke. It’s time to thank so many and look at what we can be grateful for.
Steve has said,”I’m glad this didn’t take me, I still have a lot of things I’d like to do.”
He has certainly surprised the medical and rehabilitation team around him. The prognosis in that first months was incredibly bleak. His determination, strength and character have led him to where he is today.
Steve is able to walk with the aid of a pole (and someone to assist when he gets stuck or stumbles) and he tackles stairs in a manner that scares all around him. These two things alone have given him much more freedom of movement and the ability to access places that not that long ago seemed impossible.