GoFundMe started for Blackbutt motorcycle crash victim
AN ONLINE fundraiser has raised more than $10,000 for an Afghanistan war veteran and motorcyclist who nearly severed his foot in a horrific crash on the D'Aguilar Hwy.
Redcliffe resident Jim Behan, originally from Adelaide, had been on a commemorative ride with the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Motorcycle Club while transferring from a chapter down south when the incident unfolded.
Mr Behan sustained a significant leg injury after his motorcycle crashed between Moore and Blackbutt at about 12.15pm August 17.
He was flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane in a stable condition, with emergency surgery saving his foot after he lost 15cm of bone in the process.
The crash has rocked Benham's wife Sarah, saying the ride was to coincide with his Vietnam Veteran's Day, and his birthday.
"The accident happened on the 17th, and then the 18th was his birthday," she said.
"He had to spend his birthday in hospital the poor bugger."
Mr Benham is now awaiting surgery in the next two to three months, with his wife saying they're not out of the woods yet.
"It's looking quite positive, but we have to see how it looks 8 weeks out with more surgery," she said.
"This is providing he doesn't get an infection, so everything is quite unknown at this stage."
With Mr Benham's veteran medical cover is paying for his hospital expenses, however Sarah and the Veterans MC club are looking towards the future with his rehabilitation, and the costs surrounding it.
"At the moment it's just a garage, however we need a functional living space for him so he can have the respite he needs," Mrs Benham said.
"But we need an adequate home set up, with a bathroom needing to be installed, widened doors for wheelchair access, and more."
If nearly losing his foot was not enough, the veteran has been severely impacted by the introduction of tough coronavirus restrictions, following an increase in confirmed cases in Queensland in the last two weeks.
"He's going insane at the hospital with the COVID restrictions, as he's not allowed visitors at the moment," Mrs Benham said.
"We had the first few days where we could see him but he was heavily medicated at the time so he doesn't remember a lot.
"But these restrictions are now taking a toll on his mental health.
The Vietnam Veterans and Veterans MC club have 33 chapters across Australia, with returned serviceman who have seen active duty joining to transition from defence to civilian life.
The club's national secretary Tim Stevens said they're dumbfounded at the outpouring of public sentiment for their mate Jim.
"When the accident happened we followed our protocols, notified his wife, and once the dust settled after the first couple days we asked ourselves what we could do," he said.
"We had quite a few emails coming through asking what we were going to do for Jim, and what our members from across Australia could offer the pair when he's released from hospital."
In an effort to help with the traumatic experience Mr Benham and his wife had gone through, the fundraiser was created with a monetary goal of $20,000 to cover the renovations for their family home.
"We wanted to make sure his transition to home life is good, and we've been throwing ideas around for returned servicemen with trades to help out with the upgrades," Mr Stevens said.
"The fundraising was initially only going to be done inside the club, but since we've published it online, we've received support from all-over.
"We just want to help them get back to doing day to day things.
"It's not necessarily a short term solution, but more in the long term."
If you'd like to donate to help Mr Benham, please head to the link here.