Brett's story: The power of friendship

For Brett, a strong network of friends (and a puppy called Moo) have helped him regain quality of life following a severe spinal injury.

Brett's story

Brett was 22 when he sustained a high level (C6-7) incomplete spinal cord injury in 2006.

He had a great job at Flight Centre and was on a work trip in Cairns. Then on the second evening disaster struck when they all went for a swim in the pool.

"I dived in, like I'd done safely a thousand times before. It was a metre and a half deep but I just went in wrong and hit the bottom," says Brett.

"I heard the crunch and knew I’d broken my neck."

He jokes that he only had to eat about 10 hospital dinners during the eight months he spent in Royal North Shore Hospital and Royal Rehab at Ryde because his mum, brother and all his friends constantly dropped off home-cooked meals.

His positive outlook has helped him get through.

"I accepted the injury and my situation. I thought that's happened, what do I do now? What are my expectations? I didn't go down those dark paths of depression,” Brett explains.

"I can do most things myself, and even when I can't, I don't get frustrated. I don't mind asking someone to help me."

2012 was a significant year for Brett. He moved into a unit he'd bought and landed a job in a busy government call centre where he manages a large team, working four days a week.

He's made new friends along the way and has Moo, who waits patiently for him to get home from work. On weekends Brett attaches his wheelchair to a hand cycle and cycles around Centennial Park.