On the reckoning of all probabilities, Terry Mitropoulos should be dead, but isn’t! The Greek Australian defied the odds of living and is now taking on another challenge as he prepares to walk from Adelaide to Melbourne, to raise awareness for mental health, a major part in the physical road to recovery.
In 2010, Terry developed a brain tumour, where his first brain operation became one of 13. His tumour, was the beginning of his fight to stay alive. Terry was only thirty-six at the time.
Hospitalised and in rehabilitation for nearly four years, Terry contracted a superbug. He was on 72 different types of medication in various combinations, but the antibiotics failed and doctors gave him a 5% chance of living. The superbug could only be killed off by a radical new treatment from Canada that was not available in Australia.
The compounding effects of Terry’s surgeries, the superbug causing a blockage to his spinal cord, spinal surgery to allow his spinal fluid to circulate, a mechanical valve in his brain and two shunts to drain fluid, caused Terry’s body to suffer a major stroke.
Terry was given the drug from Canada, which he was only supposed to be on for 2 weeks, but he was on it for 4 months and it completely destroyed his Nervous System, which then caused him to become a paraplegic.
Doctors told the young man he would never walk again. The news worsened as he also lost his sight and hearing.
But Terry vowed that this would not be the case and proved miracles do happen.
After 4-5 years of rehab he could walk a little and following 6 months of strength and conditioning with Ben Siong from Australian Strength Performance, Terry went from taking 1-2 steps unassisted to walking up and down and even jogging.
He has regained his sight but endures peripheral damage and double vision and remains deaf in one ear.
Terry stared down death, rose out of a wheel chair, refused to accept paraplegia, fought blindness and deafness, won and has shown beating the impossible is possible.
Now Terry wants to take on another challenge. He is preparing to walk from Adelaide on August 17 to Melbourne on September 28, to raise awareness for mental health. He didn’t just endure medical and physical challenges, but also mental health challenges where he fought depression to strengthen his road to recovery that counted the most.
He has chosen to donate funs to The Black Dog Institute, who are dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness. They are about creating a world where mental illness is treated with the same level of concern, immediacy and seriousness as physical illness; where scientists work to discover the causes of illness and new treatments, and where discoveries are immediately put into practice through health services, technology and community education.
Money will also be donated towards YMCA, a community close to his heart. At YMCA Victoria they believe that health and happiness should be within everyone’s reach, regardless of difficult circumstances.
Terry’s plight redefines human endeavour and inspires in us the notion that hope and faith are powerful mindsets – greater than we have ever known them to be.
To support Terry’s walk from Adelaide to Melbourne, please visit Walk & Shine
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