Friends - we have a mate in need and if any of us have tried to live life to it's fullest, this could have easily been you we are crowd-sourcing funds for.
On 28 September, Alex Yaschenko, was involved in a paragliding accident in the Hunza Valley, Pakistan. Despite many years paragliding experience as one of Australia’s top pilots, as well as having flown extensively in this area several years prior, Alex experienced a collapse soon after take-off and suffered a significant impact on landing.
Alex took out travel insurance for this trip, but he has hit the jackpot of bad luck as injuries of this nature require air ambulance transport home costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yep - that much. His insurance policy, whilst appearing most adequate, covers less than half the cost of an air ambulance home from Islamabad, Pakistan. I know I have travelled with a similar level of insurance thinking it would be adequate. We now know the cost of air ambulance repatriation and most travel insurance policies we use wouldn't cover it. Lesson for us all.
Alex’s injuries have been diagnosed as tetraplegia, which means he is currently paralysed from the waist down with limited function in his arms. Currently Alex has a familiar face with him but in a few days that person has to go home leaving Alex alone.
To give him the best chance of recovery it is critical he is repatriated back to his family as soon as possible. The first available air ambulance is in 2 days time and although this feels like a massive goal to raise at least $150,000 so quickly we desperately want to give Alex the best chance in his recovery.
If you are familiar with the paragliding community in Australia, you will know Alex is one of our top pilots. Having been a regular in the top 10 on the Australian ladder, in recent years he found his groove and won the Canungra Cup and Bright Open last year. His rise has not been meteoric and as such is one of the most approachable people on the competition scene. He spent many years chasing records and held the Australian distance record for about 12 months in 2018, famously launching from an unimpressively low hill in Victoria and flying 482km. The story made all the more memorable having forgotten his sunglasses on this day and suffering such sunburn to his eyes that he needed medical attention the next day. The photo of him with bloodshot eyes shared by Bruce Marks to promote the achievement is, rather ironically, one of the few photos of him that have made it to social media!
Alex is a very relaxed person - always quick to help mates out, always lead by his strong moral compass. Not one to get on the social media bandwagon, he picks up the phone or visits his mates to find out what is going on. Most calls with Alex are spent bringing him up to speed with online news. Not at all a technophobe, Alex is more informed than most - he just chooses to nurture his relationships offline. Which is why crowd-funding his repatriation is one of the most difficult decisions he has ever had to make. But now is the time for him to use technology to ask for help.
Please help out by donating whatever you can, no matter how small. Every cent counts, and every dollar lets Alex and his partner, Maggie, know they are surrounded by mates who want to see him recover.