DREW Keith is a dedicated, highly-valued long-term staff member at Hedweld Advanced Manufacturing Innovations company.
But, back in 2002, an accident changed his life completely.
Help Drew Stand Up! is a go fund me page set up by his loving family and colleagues in hopes to raise money to purchase a mobility device that will allow him to stand up after becoming a paraplegic.
Keith started racing motorbikes at the ripe age of four and it was obvious, even at that age, that he had a talent for riding.
He attended St Joseph’s High School in Aberdeen and, during his high school years, won the NSW Junior Enduro Championships three times back-to-back.
Having an apprenticeship as a plant mechanic at Muswellbrook Cranes as a day job, allowed Keith to ride semi-professionally including representing Australia in the International Six Day Enduro in 2001 in France - achieving a silver medal.
Back on home soil, he raced for Ballards Honda in many events.
At the age of just 19 and at the height of a promising motocross career, Keith received severe spinal injuries during a race fall at Milbrodale in 2002 - racing in the NSW sprint series.
He was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter where he was stabilised before transferring to Royal North Shore’s Spinal Unit.
Keith damaged his T6, T7 and T8 vertebra and became a paraplegic, losing the use of his legs and feeling from the waist down.
He spent six months recovering in Royal North Shore.
Over the years he has had four wheelchairs supplied through a NSW Government program and he has purchased one wheelchair himself, so he could have more accessibility.
Keith does not dwell on his circumstances and in fact is quite the opposite, doing anything and everything ensuring that his life is filled with as many experiences as possible.
Grabbing any opportunity that comes his way including, quad bike riding, speedway racing, wake boarding, snowboarding, jet skiing and he is also very talented with a drone.
Not letting his disability stop him, in 2004 he took up racing 1000CC Litre Sprint Cars with the use of hand controls.
Keith placed third in the Australian Titles, second in the Victorian Titles and won the Parramatta Gold Cup in 2010.
He started working at Hedweld Engineering in 2005 as an apprentice drafts person and, 13 years on now, leads the Mecensol team.
In his role, he helps to develop engineering solutions to make workplaces safer for maintenance staff and operators of large earth moving and mining equipment.
Keith has travelled both nationally and internationally with the company and never complains about anything.
“He just gets on with it never letting any adversities that life has thrown at him get in his way,” Hedweld marketing manager Sandy Thomas explained.
In late 2018, Keith was introduced to the TEK Robotic Mobilization Device – a motorised standing frame, which would allow him to be upright, have greater mobility and accessibility and achieve better health outcomes.
When having to sit all the time, he gets a sore stomach, bed sores, fluid retention and tightening of infrequently used muscles.
Keith’s colleagues are in the process of organising some fundraising to assist in the purchase of this stand-up mobility device (valued at $31,000) that will allow him to be able to manoeuvre around in a standing position.
This revolutionary device will allow him to independently and safely sit, stand and navigate environments that were once inaccessible — all while standing at eye level.
Hedwelds is kicking off its fundraising with an event, Drew’s Day, at the Bulga Tavern on Saturday, April 6.
There will be coin tossing, chocolate pool, raffles, auctions, 100 board cash prize, V8 simulator driving, jumping castles, music and a wheel chair challenge.
Or, if you can’t make it to Bulga and would like to support Keith please donate here.