Bruce McKenzie and wife Erica with Jim Wells from Pride Mobility Services and Joanne Edwards from Scooters and Mobility, who stepped in to help get Mr McKenzie mobile again.
Bruce McKenzie and wife Erica with Jim Wells from Pride Mobility Services and Joanne Edwards from Scooters and Mobility, who stepped in to help get Mr McKenzie mobile again. Tweed Daily News/Crystal Spencer

McKenzies get help to go mobile

IT hasn't been the best month for Bruce and Erica McKenzie.

After moving to Fairways at Tweed Heads South from another retirement home where they were unhappy, days later their scooter and an electric wheelchair were stolen and ruined.

The stress led 78-year-old Mr McKenzie, a double amputee, to have a heart attack and he now needs 24-hour oxygen. And last Friday was the first anniversary of the death of their eldest daughter Monica.

But things are looking up.

Hearing of the theft, Joanne Edwards of the nearby Scooters and Mobility store called on her suppliers to contribute to a new chair, and Pride Mobility of Brisbane offered half the cost. The McKenzies now will have to pay only $1200 of the $5000 cost of a new chair.

The couple were also heartened by the donation of a second-hand scooter from Jack Ahrens, who they know from the Coolangatta Tweed Golf Club.

“I cried when I got it,” said Mrs McKenzie.

Daughter Barbara said the theft was particularly devastating to her parents, as they had only just spent $4800 on the new chair. After being taken for a joyride by two teenagers, both the chair and scooter were driven into the Tweed River and ruined. The young culprits were captured on security footage and apprehended.

“When they moved in, dad said 'we don't need insurance, we've got nothing to steal',” Barbara said.

“They didn't think of the buggies because they were in the garage.”

Erica used to run the kiosk at Gold Coast Airport, “when it was a tin shed”. The family then turned a laundromat into Coolangatta's first ice-cream parlour, the Sundae Surprise. The Continental Mexican in Tweed Mall followed before they retired 10 years ago.

“They always worked hard, they haven't had a real holiday their whole lives,” said Barbara.

“After they retired, they were looking at buying a caravan but Dad had his leg chopped off two weeks later.”

Mr McKenzie lost both legs as a result of circulation problems.

Donations to help the McKenzies with the outstanding costs of the wheelchair can be made to Fairways, on the corner of Soorley Street and Minjungbal Drive, Tweed Heads South.



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