Reducing the incidence and impact of spinal cord injury in Australia
Established to create greater awareness of the risks of spinal cord injury, PBF Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation that provides much-needed financial support for those who sustain a permanent traumatic spinal cord injury. Please see our Product Disclosure Statement for full terms and conditions.
For those already living with a spinal cord injury, PBF offers peer support programs, lifestyle education and employment opportunities, with the goal of demonstrating that life can and does go on after a spinal cord injury.
Educating Australians on the risks they may face
Workplace Injury Prevention
Through a range of thought-provoking and inspirational Workplace Injury Prevention Programs, individuals are confronted with the lifelong impact of unsafe work choices and its effect on one’s future health and those around them.
Road Injury Prevention
Designed with the goal of reducing the number of road deaths and serious injury, our award-winning and impactful Road Prevention Program engages and educates pre and novice drivers on the risks of the road and the consequences of poor decision making.
Youth Injury Prevention
Designed in consultation with the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol, our Youth Alcohol Prevention Program aims to inspire responsible drinking behaviour through personal testimonials of how poor decision-making after consuming alcohol have had devastating consequences on themselves and others.
Aqua Injury Prevention
Over half of all sporting and leisure spinal cord injuries in Australia occur in, or on the water and tragically, almost all result in quadriplegia. Our Aqua Injury Prevention Program targets students in years 6,7,8 and 9,and aims to reduce incidence of serious water injury or drowning through the promotion of essential water safety skills.
Sharing our stories to prevent injury
Each speaker has lived experience and a unique
story to tell
Jodie’s life changed forever when she was struck by a motor vehicle whilst cycling. The driver, was over the legal alcohol limit, found to be fatigued at the time as well as using their mobile phone whist driving!
Working as a dietician and gym operator, the spinal cord injuries Jodie sustained in this cycling accident completely changed the course of her life.
Jodie is an engaging presenter and has a passion for educating drivers. Her goal is to help minimise the number of drivers on Australian roads that continue to use their phones or drive whilst intoxicated.
Check Availability of Jodie Nikolic
“Don’t grow up too fast and don’t take life for granted.”
At the age of 16 Konnah had two passions, he was a musician and he liked to party with his friends on the weekends. On that fateful weekend Konnah and a bunch of his mates were driving from party to party, seven young men in a small two door hatch back. As Konnah was the youngest, the older boys made the decision that he would be the one to travel without a seatbelt.
When the car crashed Konnah’s injuries almost killed him. It took Konnah 6 months in ICU and the spinal unit to recover and he now lives with a high level spinal cord injury, C4 quadriplegia. Konnah shares his story with high school students, so they do not make the same mistakes he made, and to empower them to make the right choices on the road.
Check Availability of Konnah Ruru
“Odds are it won’t happen to you, but if it does the emotional, social and financial strain it puts on you and your family are lifelong and should not be under-estimated.”
What do Queenslanders do for a little rest and relaxation – they take their family to the beach. Rob was doing just that when he was momentarily distracted whilst surfing. He fell off his board coming into shore and landed funny in the shallow water, breaking his neck and injuring his spinal cord at C5.
An incredibly active surfer and swimmer, Rob’s life changed in that split second as he became a quadriplegic. After eight months in hospital he slowly came to the realisation that the wheelchair would permanently be in his life. With incredible support from family and friends, and in particular his wife, Rob’s family was drawn closer together by this tragedy.
“Every single task in life is now more difficult. Everything I do becomes a well thought out and difficult challenge. I am more diligent with safety now, particularly with the kids.”
Check Availability of Rob Croll
“An accident can just happen – even if you have not been the one to cause it.”
It was just another great weekend in 2007 on the bikes with his mates. Steve and his friends were not even riding hard, it was a casual weekend. He was a self-employed photographer for 10-15 years, married with a daughter and trying for another child. Steve loved cycling, trained daily and competed in local races. He loved spending time with his family outdoors, camping and gardening.
As a consequence of a trail bike accident, Steve sustained broken ribs, a punctured lung, 4 broken vertebrae and a severed spinal cord. He is now a complete T7 paraplegic and shares his story as part of PBF Australia’s Road Injury Prevention Programs.
Check Availability of Steve Richter
“I take safety much more seriously than I did before, because I now know and live with the consequences of being blasé about safety.”
Before his accident Paul was working as a site supervisor at a water reservoir on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. He and his girlfriend were planning on starting a family. He enjoyed riding motorbikes, fishing, camping and travelling.
Paul was under a lot of pressure at work. When packing up for the day he decided to do the right thing by securing the site, as there had been a theft the night before. The crew knew that the hook on the crane they were using was faulty, as they had tried to fix it months earlier.
Whilst moving the load of form ply, a 480kg pallet of bolts slipped off the top and hit Paul on the back of his shoulders. He now lives as a paraplegic and conducts workplace presentations sharing the details of his incident. Paul’s presentation addresses how his incident could have been prevented if he had taken more of a stand about proper safety standards at work.
Check Availability of Paul Carson
3 years after achieving her dream of moving to Australia with her husband and two young children, Joanna’s dream turned into a nightmare on 6th November, 2010, when she drunkenly fell and broke her neck, leaving Joanna with no active movement from her shoulders down.
What should have been a fun day at the food and wine festival, ended with guilt, remorse and a family changed forever. This was due to a chain of poor choices made throughout the day. Joanna was then left with the consequences of her actions and the long term effects, not just for herself, but also for her family.
Joanna is a C3 Complete Quadriplegic, using a chin controlled wheelchair with the need for a full time carer. Joanna doesn’t know what the future holds, but still believes in grasping and running with opportunities when they arise. Ten years on and Joanna’s life is full of meaning and spinal linked activities, that she never would have thought were possible.
Joanna became involved with PBF Australia and works with their team to raise awareness of how easily spinal cord injury can happen or be prevented.
Check Availability of Joanna Fowler
On Boxing Day 1989, Michelina had recently finished her HSC and her family planned to drive to Adelaide for a 21st birthday party on New Year’s Eve. They never made it past Gundagai…
Another driver fell asleep at the wheel and came onto their side of the highway, hitting her uncle’s car head-on. Michelina’s parent’s car was in front of them and managed to swerve out of the way. She was a passenger sitting behind her uncle’s seat and took the brunt of the impact resulting in an L2 Spinal Cord Injury. Michelina’s life changed forever. Not only did she lose the use of her legs but also lost her uncle in the blink of an eye.
Michelina quickly realised that she would become an educator whether she wanted to be or not. Through education, she is able to knock down the barriers that pre-conceived ideas about spinal cord injury bring. Michelina believes it is so important to see the person before the wheelchair and educating about the consequences of road choices gives people the opportunity to be aware and make informed (and safer) decisions when they drive. She shares her story in the hope to minimise the risk of a catastrophic injury happening to her audience or their loved ones.
Check Availability of Michelina Pelosi
“Work hard and enjoy life but make sure you’re getting enough sleep.”
Greg grew up on a farm, learning from an early age that work was hard and hours were long. This mentality continued throughout his life, in particular when supporting his young family.
In the lead up to his incident Greg was only getting 4 hours sleep per night. He always felt tired but was used to it, so continued to push himself. Early one morning Greg’s fatigue finally caught up with him. He fell asleep at the wheel, his car left the road and collided with a tree. Greg was only 2km from his destination.
Sustaining life threatening injuries, overtime Greg made a decent recovery. However he lives with quadriplegia from his C5/6 spinal cord injury. Greg shares his personal story so that others can see how important healthy sleep patterns are, and avoid the risk of fatigue related incidents.
Check Availability of Greg Willmott
“Live life to the fullest but make decisions with your personal safety in mind.”
Before his accident Shane worked Monday to Friday and partied on the weekend. Between partying with family and friends he enjoyed being part of a drag racing team, going to the beach, and surfing with mates. Most of all Shane loved to cruise in his HR Holden and ride his motorbike.
The accident was a direct result of Shane being distracted. He was looking away from the direction he was travelling, to see if people were watching him riding his motorbike. Not looking directly where he was going Shane struck a tree branch, which tipped his head backwards and dislocated his neck from his head, permanently and completely damaging the spinal cord.
Shane Agnew now lives with a spinal cord injury of the highest level possible, cervical level 1 (C1).
Check Availability of Shane Agnew
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National Photo Day
August 19th is National Photo Day, the perfect day to showcase PBF team member and photographer, Ebonny and her work “I’ve had a camera in my hands since I could walk, back ....
Meet Ebonny: Ebonny was a very active member of the community pursuing her passion in photography and gaining experience in a bookkeeping career She regularly enjoyed activities ....
“Don’t grow up too fast and don’t take life for granted” At the age of 16 Konnah had two passions, he was a musician and he liked to party with his friends on the weekends ....
PBF injury prevention programs
Everyday someone in Australia suffers a spinal cord injury While most Australians understand the importance of safety in the workplace, on the road and the water, very few people ....
The value of meaningful employment opportunities
Our own team members, who are themselves living as paraplegic or quadriplegic members of the community, are well positioned to comment on the positive impact of employment after ....
On Boxing Day 1989, Michelina had recently finished her HSC and her family planned to drive to Adelaide for a 21st birthday party on New Year’s Eve They never made it past ....
“Work hard and enjoy life but make sure you’re getting enough sleep” Greg grew up on a farm, learning from an early age that work was hard and hours were long This mentality ....
“I saw all the warning signs, but thought nothing would happen to me” Karen is a paraplegic, at the age of 22 she was involved in a car crash in a vehicle driven by her ....
Help us reduce the impact and incidence of spinal cord injury by making a tax-deductible donation today. PBF is a registered charity with Deductible Gift Recipient status (DGR) and tax receipts are available upon request.