I love it when I meet someone who’s truly genuine and kind hearted. It’s sometimes difficult events of the past that can create the character we become. When his daughter was 8 months old, Lynton’s life path changed forever. Here’s his story.
Pinnaroo is a town in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia, near the border with Victoria, 243 km east of Adelaide. This is where Lynton ran a farm machinery franchise and he and his gorgeous wife Gloria were raising two sons.
In 1990, they welcomed their daughter Simone into the world. And lucky was the world!
At 8 months old, on a Monday, Simone was taken to the local doctor. Normally placid (praise be), she had been grizzly for two days and with a few glandular fever cases in the town, Gloria wanted to get Simone checked out- just to be safe. As we mums do.
Was it teeth coming through? Was it something to follow up or worry about? An 8 month old can’t tell you what her pains are.
With no other symptoms other than being grizzly, and a slight temperature, the doctor put Simone on penicillin.
After 24hrs. there was no improvement so it was advised she get taken to Adelaide’s Children’s Hospital for more investigation.
It was Friday now.
After bloods and a lumbar puncture, an answer was found.
Sometimes all we want is an answer but sometimes the answer can scare the hell out of us.
As parents, when our children are involved, there are some words that frighten us to death.
That was the word. That was the answer.
8 month old Simone had contracted haemophilus meningitis.
Haemophilus meningitis is a form of bacterial meningitis and presents as an inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord.
If undetected, the bacteria are deadly. Remember, we’re in 1990 and the vaccination was in it’s infancy, if at all available.
On hearing the news, Lynton who was still in Pinnaroo, left his boys, then 5 and 7 with the school teacher and friends. You could do that back in 1990 in a country town.
He joined Gloria and Simone at the Children’s Hospital for a heart wrenching wait. In the following 24 hours Simone would ‘live or die’.
Did they get her to the hospital in time? Would she recover? Would she die?
Lynton explained that because of the penicillin initially given, Simone had a much better chance of surviving this crucial stage.
She did. She survived until Saturday. And she would live on.
Due to the swelling of the brain, meningitis can cause long term neurological disorders, leading to mental disability, hearing loss , cerebral palsy and seizures.
So this was the next arduous wait for Lynton and Gloria. What effects would Simone have to live the rest of her life with? How would she cope? How would they cope?
After 8 weeks in the hospital, Lynton and Gloria took their baby home.
She had a cerebrospinal shunt inserted from her brain to her stomach (to aspirate excess fluid) and this is still in situ today. She had lost use of her left arm and lower leg- to what degree was unknown yet.
The next couple of years included numerous drives from Pinnaroo to Adelaide for doctors appointments, occupational therapy and speech pathology.
In 1993, it was confirmed that Simone’s hearing was lost.
She was approved for a then new procedure- a cochlear implant. With only two done the previous year, Simone would be one of the first recipients to receive the surgery. Long live modern medicine.
Lynton was on the top shelf of his private health fund (remember the old ‘free for free’?).
The surgery would still cost $17000.
But we would do anything for our children right?
Through Dr.Rice at Variety Australia,
Lynton gained assistance for his beautiful daughter in need.
Like I said, we would do anything for our children.
He sold his business. Gloria sold hers. They left Pinnaroo and moved to Adelaide to give Simone the ability to hear the world in all its wonder.
Her surgery date was set and was performed by Dr. Rice ( who now has his own cochlear implant).
Today, in her twenties, Simone is a proud woman of substance. She volunteers at a hospital, spends time with a group of close friends, travels and Ubers her parents around (how the tides do turn!). Like any normal female, she gets out and about, tries to lose weight for a wedding and can’t stop at one Tim Tam. Hats off to you girlfriend!
Simone was incredibly lucky in many ways.
The early prescription of penicillin aided her prognosis.
The persistence of her mum’s gut instinct got her to the Children’s Hospital in time to recover.
Her internal shunt has been free from infection since its insertion.
The cochlear implant surgery was successful.
Now, with the love of her family, Simone leads her own life. A life that was nearly lost.
While much of this story is about Simone and her time of trial, I want to talk about Lynton- because Lynton- this is MY chance to talk- ‘Mr. Av-a-chat’.
Since coming to Adelaide, Lynton has worked- and worked HARD for the RAA. While the RAA couldn’t run without him (that’s my linguistic licence right there), Lynton also volunteers at Variety- the charity for children in need. Without them, Simone would not be where she is today.
Some donate to charity with a hefty cheque. Lynton donates with his time, his heart and his soul. His kindness, his passion to help and his mechanical skills have been a blessing to Variety for 25 years now.
A huge personality of the Variety Bash
Lynton was first the mobile mechanic on site for 5 years. He then became known as ‘Albert’ the bush mechanic for the next 10 years. Now, as an official on the track, he is this year partaking in his 23rd CONSECUTIVE bash in official vehicle number 5 (OV5).
He has also participated in 5 documentaries created through TV presenter Troy Gray and Variety AND now helps transporting folk in the V2 event here in South Australia.
Variety takes a special place in Lynton’s heart and he loves every minute he volunteers- whether it’s speaking, sorting, packing or fixing.
It’s people like this who make the world go round.
It truly is. Not the Kardashians or the Kanyes. Not the influencers or the Trumps.
It’s souls like Lynton who deserve the applause/ likes/ followers.
People like Lynton who have seen trauma, heartache and sorrow but still make time to give back. To develop great things and things that matter. To help something grow and become meaningful. His precious gift of time makes so many lives better.
We celebrate you Lynton and we thank you.
We thank you for showing us what is REAL.
We thank you for your display of genuine kindness and care for those around you. You make this world right and you make this world rich.
This 65 year old running, kick boxing, cycling, car fixing, family loving, hunk of a man deserves a freaking medal- and then some.
PS- *If you call the RAA, please have your membership card ready.
*If you would like to help Lynton to help others please go to his upcoming fundraising event.