Thursday the 24th of September was meant to be a special day for well-respected Tablelands builder Rob Turner and his young family. They had just arrived in Karumba for their once-a-year family holiday and were setting off for the day when their world suddenly changed.
Rob, his wife Gabrielle and their three children Estelle, 5, Frankie, 3, and Otis, nine months, were in the car together when Rob suffered a severe pain in the head. He stepped out of the car, collapsed and became paralysed, terrifying his frantic family. Rob was airlifted to Townsville Hospital and placed in intensive care. Doctors discovered he had a very rare bleed on the brain.
Kairi man Ian Tomasetig, one of the Turner’s oldest friends, said, “I’ve been flooded with calls and messages from people wanting to know how they can help. Everyone is in complete disbelief about what has happened. It feels like the entire Tablelands community is in shock. Rob and Gabe are so loved here because they are such kind and generous people themselves. They have made such an impact on everyone around them.”
“I’ve been in Townsville with them in recent days and it is the unknown that is really hard. We don’t know how long Gabe and the kids are going to be there for, while Rob recovers. It is a delicate situation and the specialists need time to review his progress and plan the next step.”
“He is slowly progressing every day, which is giving us all hope.”
Rob has a long and uncertain road ahead, he will be in hospital for a number of weeks while doctors continue to monitor him and he will then undergo brain surgery, facing many months of rehabilitation. It is not yet clear how long it will take for Rob to recover, or what his recovery will look like.
Rob and Gabrielle run a small, family-owned construction company on the Tablelands, but their business cannot operate while Rob is unwell, and Gabrielle cares for him and their children around the clock. Gabrielle and the kids have relocated from the Atherton Tablelands to Townsville to be by his side, and face hefty accommodation and living costs while they are there.
Gabrielle said, “The last few days have changed the future of our family. One thing that is certain is that we will never take another day for granted. It is overwhelming to think Rob has been a ticking time bomb since he was born and we didn’t even know.”
“I am blown away by the health system in this country, particularly the incredible medical staff in rural and remote areas. This is the second time the Royal Flying Doctors have saved our family. The care in Normanton, from paramedics to hospital staff and even strangers – they were willing to give us everything. The specialists in Townsville have also been amazing.”
Like many young families, Rob and Gabrielle also have a mortgage and bills that will not wait. This is the second time in just a few years that they have faced a life-threatening emergency. Their eldest daughter underwent urgent open-heart surgery when she was just four weeks old. Rob, Gabrielle and their precious children deserve a break.
Rob is described as a down-to-earth, generous and hardworking man who adores his wife and children. “The support we have been shown by the local community has been overwhelming. Rob would be blown away if he knew how this has affected everyone. Once we get through this, we will pay it forward and make it our mission to give back.” Gabrielle said.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to ease the financial burden on the Turner family and has already received over $66,000 in less than 24 hours, proving how loved and respected Rob and his family are.
Donations can be made by following visiting this link: https://gf.me/u/y2v9z3