Bundy family donate wheelchair in memory of beloved son
WITH a zest for life and an amazing spirit, Bundaberg mum Kara Clark laughs as she remembers son Tasman Balazs and his love of the ocean.
But the memories are bitter-sweet because three days before Christmas 2016, the 31-year-old died after contracting pneumonia, his weakened body unable to fight off the illness due to the terminal syndrome he was diagnosed with as a 12-year-old.
The rare neuromuscular disorder Kearns-Sayre syndrome robbed Mr Balazs of his eyesight, weakened his muscles and meant he needed a pacemaker at 13.
Despite the condition, Ms Clark said the family would spend hours at the beach with Mr Balasz, helping hold him afloat in the lagoon at Kellys Beach.
Then about five years ago a grant allowed the family to buy a Sandcruiser wheelchair and trips to the beach became a lot easier.
"My son Tasman absolutely adored the beach when he was younger,” Ms Clark said.
"It (the wheelchair) got him back to the beach and into the ocean.
"You could wheel it in as if you were going in for a swim and the chair would float and rock to the waves.
"He had waves splashing on him, he just loved it. He wouldn't stop laughing in the water.
"He had a real quest for life and he had an amazing spirit, even though over the years life got really hard for him.”
On the anniversary of the death of Mr Balasz, who was well known at Tom Quinn Centre where he painted wheelbarrows, Ms Clark gathered with his siblings, Bindi, Jay, Annie and Billy, to donate the wheelchair to Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club.
Ms Clark said now others could experience the ocean in Mr Balasz's memory.
"We all wanted to donate the wheelchair in memory of how much he loved making people happy,” she said.
"He would love other people to have the same pleasure he had.
"His spirit was infectious. He'd make us work harder, want to do more because of the influence he had on us and we miss him so much.”
Bundaberg SLSC president John McGregor said wheelchair bookings were not needed and anyone wanting to use it could approach the lifeguards or patrol captain on duty during patrol days. They would then explain its use.
"It allows people with disabilities access to the water,” Mr McGregor said.
"It's a lovely gesture and I'm sure it will be well utilised.”