Roy Davie never thought he would return to university study after suffering a traumatic spinal cord injury in 2009 and becoming a C1 quadriplegic.
“It was just mind-blowing at the start that it was going to be like this for the rest of my life. I thought I might as well not go anywhere or do anything and that’s the way I felt for a long time,” he said.
But after the realisation that he couldn’t change what had happened, the Master of Applied Science (Geospatial Information) student hasn’t let his injury keep him from living his life.
“Recognising that I couldn’t change what had happened and that I’d be in a wheelchair whether I wanted to admit it or not – accepting that pushed me to get back to my life,” he said.
True to his word, Davie is now looking towards completing his Master degree at the end of the year with the support of his fiancée Michelle and their two children Xavier, 5, and Tyler, 15 months.
“Late nights and early mornings are challenging but pretty much a given,” he said.
“It’s not strange to be up to three o’clock finishing an assignment and then up at seven with the kids.”
Davie’s hard work and determination hasn’t gone unnoticed and Foundation 97, a charity organisation committed to enhancing the lives of non-funded spinal cord injured Victorians, recently awarded him a $7500 scholarship towards his studies.
Managing Director Tracey Clarke said Foundation 97 was thrilled to support Davie as he continues to impress those around him and those lucky enough to know him.
“Roy has been on our radar for several months now and we have watched him flourish,” she said.
“He is the perfect example of someone who has faced incredibly hard times in his life and risen above it to achieve great things.”
Having come out the other side of something most people would struggle to understand, Davie is just excited to see what comes next and is happy to be a student again.
“It was challenging getting my head back in that frame of mind. But the university has been great,” he said.
“With my disability, there are things that can potentially come up that can take me away from study for periods of time.
“The RMIT Disability Liaison Unit has been fantastic; the person who put my program together was awesome and it really helped out a lot. It’s been a really good experience for me.”
Associate Professor Colin Arrowsmith in the School of Science said Davie had achieved great results so far and was clearly dedicated to making the most of his future career.
“I see a bright future for Roy, combining his skills already acquired in computer science and in Geospatial Information Science where graduates of his calibre are always in demand,” he said.
Inked in superhero tattoos that speak to taking responsibility and staring down adversity, it’s clear Davie has taken nothing for granted since his injury and said anyone struggling with depression or anxiety shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
“If you feel anxious or depressed and don’t feel like there’s a way out, just talk to someone. It doesn’t matter who it is, a friend or a family member, just have someone to chat to,” he said.
“For anyone in a similar situation, living with a disability, really just accepting what has happened can help you move forward.
“If you focus on how you were before your injury, you may never realise what you’re truly capable of.”
Story: Sean O’Malley