Donna Duff is recovering in hospital with support from family and friends, including her niece Anastasia Van Tiel.
Donna Duff is recovering in hospital with support from family and friends, including her niece Anastasia Van Tiel.

Donna survives brush with death

TWEED mother Donna Duff has survived a dangerous infection of the bladder and kidneys that almost killed her on the weekend.

About six weeks ago Donna, who has two young kids, was taken to Gold Coast Hospital where she was diagnosed with a crippling neurological disorder, Transverse Myelitis.

Last weekend she came close to losing her battle for life when she got an infection which moved from her bladder to her kidneys and into her bloodstream.

Donna's dad, Tassie Duff, who runs the Murwillumbah backpackers hostel, said Donna was immediately transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit where she remained for two days.

Once doctors managed to stabilise Donna she was returned to her ward where she remains until today.

Mr Duff said Donna was certainly doing it tough and had not quite recovered from last weekend's infection.

A new fundraising event for Donna will be held on Sunday, October 14, at the Riverside Pizza and Thai Cafe and everyone is invited to join cafe owner Kimberley Howard and enjoy some great food while supporting Ms Duff.

Donna's setback meant her physiotherapy had to be delayed and although Donna's condition had improved before last weekend's events, her recovery was anything but assured.

Mr Duff said "theoretically there is a one third chance Donna will fully recover, a one third chance she will partially recover and a one third chance of no recovery at all".

It was impossible to predict which 'third' Donna would fall in and how much she would recover, according to Mr Duff.

Donna was lucky in some respects though with her partner stepping up and taking leave from work to take care of Donna's two kids, Jakai (7) and Lara (18 months).

"Donna's partner has been absolutely great," Mr Duff said.

Although Donna will have to remain in hospital for some time her attitude was remarkable.

"Donna is bright, cheerful and encourages other patients on her ward.

"Her outlook is really positive and she is utterly determined."

"She can't wait for her physiotherapy to start and just wants to get on with life with what she still has."

Jakai and Lara both missed their mother dreadfully but were also holding up well.

Once Donna was released from hospital, she would probably face some difficult changes in lifestyle and although the measure of the changes necessary was impossible to judge, she would have to deal with modifications to her home and car among others.

The money raised for Donna over the last few weeks including proceeds from the event at the Riverside Pizza and Thai Cafe will go towards making these vital changes, Mr Duff said.

"She will possibly have to convert her car so she can drive without using her legs but even if that proves not to be necessary there is no shortage of areas the money can go to."

Mr Duff said he was really touched by the reaction of the town to the news of Donna's health problems and the help people had offered.

"It really restores your faith in humanity," Mr Duff said.

The Riverside Pizza and Thai Cafe fundraiser will start at 7.30 pm on October 14 and, while everyone is welcome, bookings for diners are essential.

The night will feature a raffle draw and guests stand to win prizes such as a $200 tattoo from Absolute Tattoo, a Larnag $80 makeover voucher, a Sunnyside Meats voucher, an IGA gift basket and TEAC portable DVD player.

Anyone interested in booking a table at Riverside Pizza and Thai Cafe or make a donation should contact Kimberley Howard on 02 66721 935.

Donations can also be made at the Austral Cafe in Murwillumbah's Main St and at Poster Paradise also in Main St, Murwillumbah.

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