Chris Unstead, a valued member of the Bullsbrook Volunteer Bushfire and Emergency Services crew and recipient of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Award has suffered a horrific injury to his leg whilst rendering assistance to a group of youths in Ellenbrook on Tuesday 25 June.
Chris was flagged down by the group who had overturned their vehicle on the oval at Ellenbrook Secondary College. He phoned for assistance and then he and the group attempted to right the vehicle. Unfortunately, the car rolled back, crushing Chris’s shin, ankle and foot in on itself.
“It was pain like I’ve never felt before,” says Chris.
Chris remained calm, phoning an ambulance for himself and is even forgiving of those who fled in shock at the catastrophic scene, a testament to his on-field training and experience.
“It’s just how people deal with trauma, they were literally petrified,” he says.
Chris has had an initial operation and is now sporting some serious scaffolding on his leg. Time will tell if the operation has been successful and if the lower leg, which was without blood flow for more than two hours, is still viable. Doctors have advised that rehabilitation could take up to a year.
“It’s one of the worst breaks they’ve seen,” said Chris. “It’s broken in multiple places and there is nothing left of the ankle.”
Despite this injury sidelining not only his current job as a self-employed electrician, his capacity to volunteer in the community and his dreams of becoming a career firefighter, Chris remains upbeat and thankful the result was not worse.
“We can’t change what’s happened, we can’t change the outcome, what we can change is what we do with it,” he said.
“People ask, ‘Next time are you going to help strangers?’ Yeah, I would. If someone is asking for help it’s because they can’t help themselves.”
A GoFundMe account was established after the accident with more than $12,000 raised in the first four days. “Thank you all so much for your amazing generosity. I am absolutely blown away by your kindness,” said Chris.
If you would like to contribute to the fund head to www.gofundme.com/f/chris039s-fearless-fight