Australia’s miracle man wins a fight no one else could
Defying the odds is a phrase used to admire the extraordinary feats people overcome where the weight of chance is not in their favour. But miracles are entirely different, the odds of favourable outcomes are almost inconceivably impossible - negligible to be exact, which is what makes miracles, just that, miracles.
On the reckoning of all probabilities, Terry Mitropoulos should be dead, but isn’t! Terry is Australia’s own miracle story. His story perverts what we see as defying the odds, and transcends into a realm we can hardly imagine anyone could possibly go through.
His plight redefines human endeavour and inspires in us the notion that hope and faith are powerful mindsets - greater than we have ever known them to be.
The 2016 F.O.T.Y. proved medical experts wrong. In 2010, Terry developed a brain tumour, where his first brain operation became one of 13. His tumour, was the beginning of his fight to stay alive.
Hospitalised and in rehabilitation for nearly four years, Terry’s fight became a monumental battle. In hospital, he contracted a superbug where doctors gave him a 5% chance of living. He was on 72 different types of medication in various combinations but the antibiotics failed. What would kill the bug, was medication from overseas, not available in Australia.
The compounding effects of Terry’s surgeries, the superbug causing a blockage to his spinal cord, spinal surgery to allow his spinal fluid to circulate, a mechanical valve in his brain and two shunts to drain fluid, caused Terry’s body to suffer a major stroke.
Terry Mitropoulos was given the drug from overseas - it killed the superbug but began to destroy his nervous system. It caused Terry to become a paraplegic.
Doctors told Terry he would never walk again. He also lost his sight and hearing – he was a paraplegic that faced not only the news he would ever walk again but either see or hear.
But Terry proved miracles do happen.
Paraplegics almost never or do not ever walk again, nor do people who lose their sight and hearing ever regain their auditory or visual senses. But Terry isn’t just anybody. He showed mental resilience and strength of determination creates amazing paradigm shifts.
He now walks with a cane and has no awareness of the lower part of his body – he says he walks with his eyes. He has regained his sight but endures peripheral damage and double vision and remains deaf in one ear. Terry has his life back, his independence and is no longer reliant on others to live.
Extraordinary people do extraordinary things. Terry has endured challenges most of us couldn’t, as cliched as that sounds, the cliche is a reality. He has stared down death, risen out of a wheel chair, refused to accept paraplegia, fought blindness and deafness, won and has shown beating the impossible is possible.
Now Terry wants to take on another challenge – a mere hurdle compared to what he has overcome.
Terry is preparing to walk from Adelaide on August 17 to Melbourne on September 28, raising awareness for mental health, because just as it was the medical and physical challenges he endured, it was the mental health challenges where he fought depression to strengthen his road to recovery that counted the most.
Terry has chosen to donate funds to The Black Dog Institute, who are dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness. They are about creating a world where mental illness is treated with the same level of concern, immediacy and seriousness as physical illness; where scientists work to discover the causes of illness and new treatments, and where discoveries are immediately put into practice through health services, technology and community education.
To enable the funds to be transferred to the Black Dog Institute, Community Fundraising Manager Evan Jackson has been added as a beneficiary.
He has also decided to donate money towards YMCA, a community close to his heart. At YMCA Victoria they believe that health and happiness should be within everyone’s reach, regardless of difficult circumstances. Through the YMCA Open Doors initiative, they are dedicated to making a real impact to those in the communities who are experiencing hard times by offering full or subsidised access to YMCA programs and services. YMCA Open Doors builds connections with people, encourages social inclusion and promotes individual empowerment for those in the community that need it the most.
The need to overcome any challenge Terry says, is to have mental resilience that enables you to endure the fight. He wants to raise awareness of the importance of how working together anything can be achieved.
The time has come to get behind Terry - Australia’s miracle man, and support his ‘Walk’ from Adelaide to Melbourne in 2019.