Luke’s Dad, Dave, was diagnosed with MS in 2009 when he was just 33 years of age. At the time of Dave’s diagnosis, Luke was only 9 years old, with a younger sister aged 6 and a baby brother who was only a few months old.
Dave’s symptoms only started a few months before his diagnosis. It started with trouble walking and fatigue.
Luke was very young when his Dad was diagnosed, so he didn’t fully understand what multiple sclerosis was, or what it meant for his Dad and family. However, over the last few years Luke has had to come to terms with the effects of MS on his family.
“Dad has primary progressive MS and there isn’t any treatment for him. He has progressed very quickly, and is now in a wheelchair permanently. He has lost all movement in his legs and has limited use of his arms.”
“Dad worked for Emergency Management Queensland up until a few years ago when his employer said he could no longer work. Dad loved his job and he misses being able to work.”
Luke and his two younger siblings have been a real help for their mother and wife of Dave, Peta.
“We all help Dad as much as we can. It is hard for him to depend on us so much, but we have it figured out most of the time. We want Dad living with us for as long as he can.”
After Dave’s diagnosis, Luke wanted to do more to raise awareness about MS in the local community, as well as raise vital funds in order to help make a difference. Luke has done this by getting involved with the annual MS Swimathon for the last two years.
“I chose to get involved with the Swimathon to raise money to find a cure for MS, to help people with MS and bring awareness to MS.I also swim to show my Dad that I love him and support him.”
Luke’s football mates also got on board and swam with me in 2014, to show their support.
“I play Rugby League for Brothers Toowoomba Junior Rugby League – so our team name was ‘Brothers doing it for Dave’. Everyone who swam was a part of Brothers – players, Club Captain, Club Princess, brothers, sisters, mums and dads of players. We had great support from the club.”
Luke was the highest individual fundraiser across the nine Swimathons held over 2015 and 2016. He raised an incredible $3,765!