Like many Newcastle locals, surfing was a daily activity for Chris Poulos.
But on Friday, 15 November 2019, everything changed.
Chris struck a particularly fierce wave, falling from his board and hitting his head on a sandbar. It immediately knocking him unconscious. Thankfully there were other surfers nearby, who bravely dragged him out of the water and called Triple Zero.
Paramedics arrived quickly, followed by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter chopper. The Royal North Shore Hospital airlifted Chris, and he was admitted to the Spinal Injuries Unit of the Intensive Care Ward. That's where doctors delivered the devastating news.
Chris’ injuries had left him a partial quadriplegic.
Since then, he has made progress, but is still facing long hospital stays and extended rehabilitation. With a wife and two children in Newcastle, and Chris now in hospital in Ryde, they have a tough road ahead of them.
When our team (many of whom are avid surfers themselves) heard about the freak accident and the hardships Chris and his family were going to endure, they wanted to help in any way they could.
The community pulls together to help Chris
Led by Maria Asvestas and Alex Tagaroulias, both relatives of Chris, the local community rallied by organising a fundraiser. They hoped to help cover some of the costs of the mounting medical bills. They held the event in February 2020 and asked local organisations to donate prizes for the fundraiser.
Air Extreme was more than happy to help. We donated a Daikin Lite Series inverter wall mounted split air conditioning system – fully installed. It was the first prize in the Tambola Raffle.
“The air conditioner was a highly sought-after prize. Everyone wanted to win it,” Maria said. “And Tatum was over the moon when she won, especially when Air Extreme installed the system last week!”
$20,000 was raised to support Chris and his family through his recovery
Chris isn’t giving up on his road to recovery. The $20,000 raised will go towards his ongoing treatment, making a huge impact on his fight to walk (and surf) again.
We are always looking at ways to support the local community and those in need. Chris’ story was one that was very close to home for many of the Air Extreme staff and it was our pleasure to donate time and products in support of Chris.