Gympie dad in ICU after being found unconscious at mine site
MOOLOO father and grandfather Ken Wheeler, 52, always calls his wife Vicki to say 'goodnight' before heading off to night shift at the Cracow gold mine.
Last Friday night, Vicki waited for his call, but it never came.
Vicki raised the alarm with Ken's boss, who went to his room only to find him unconscious. Ken had suffered a massive bleed on the brain some time during the day.
He was transported to Theodore Hospital before being airlifted to Rockhampton. There a CT scan revealed that he had a bleed on his brain. After that, Ken was medivaced to Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, where he remains in the ICU after undergoing emergency surgery.
Their friend Lisa Wagner has started a GoFundMe campaign to help Ken and Vicki during this difficult time, and is hoping to raise $20,000.
"I feel the very least we could do is all put our hands in our pockets and ease the burden for Ken and Vicki," Lisa said.
" The road to recovery will be long, let's make it as smooth as we can. Ken and Vicki are very proud people and it has taken some convincing to allow us to set up this gofundme account.
"Ken is worried about his limited long service leave and annual leave and the impact this will have on Vicki, Lachlan and Bec."
Ken and Vicki live at Mooloo on 70 acres but have lived in the Gympie region for about 20 years.
They work cattle when not doing their separate jobs - Ken works one week on and one week off so when he is away Vicki runs the property.
Described as a "very passionate man who is not afraid to show his emotions (even on politics, religion), Ken loves his family and friends and would do anything for them and I know he is fighting atm to get better," Lisa said.
" Vicki hasn't been able to see him which is breaking her heart (COVID) because she knows he would fight harder if she was with him. He is also a strong, fit, loyal and hardworking person."
The couple returned from travelling overseas in March 2020, and loved it.
Ken's father Mal Wheeler was born in Gympie and was one of the first workers on Borumba Dam. Ken's great grandfather's father was well know, William Smerdon, and came to Gympie 1867.