Urgent appeal now within reach of target

By Riverine Herald

ECHUCA-MOAMA’S Morphett family is almost home – and the GoFundMe page to help them tackle an unexpected $60,000-plus debt has edged past $43,000.

Stewart Morphett last week all but travelled around the world in less than four days (he had covered 31,472km – Echuca to Melbourne to Vienna to Linz and back – in 89 hours) to bring his badly injured father Robert and distressed mother Robyn home from Austria.

Where they had been stranded for the past four weeks after Robert had a serious fall on a river cruise.

Stewart said no-one is quite sure what happened; his father left dinner and was then found at the bottom of a stairway, his head lying in a pool of blood.

He was in ICU in Linz for 10 days with a fractured skull and sustained serious injuries including broken ribs.

Stewart said the bill for the Austrian hospital was $1250 a day; their mother’s room at a nearby hotel was $200 a day and to fly home Robert had to be able to lie down and that meant business class tickets — $15,000 for the couple and $3000 for his.

The Morphetts have been left holding the bag after their travel insurer changed its mind and declined to cover their costs.

Both were admitted to The Alfred straight after they returned to Australia and Robert is still there, with Robyn now home in the twin towns.

“Dad has been improving slowly, that trip home really took it out of him, out of both of them,” Stewart said.

“We still don’t know what happened, dad cannot remember anything, not even the trip he had been on for two days,” Stewart said.

“He didn’t even realise he had been in hospital for a month, and he has lost more than 10kg in that time, but we are really happy with his progress now he is home.

‘‘We just want to get him back here and start putting this whole terrible mess behind us.

“But our whole family knows this has been made so much easier by the astonishing support from local businesses, people we know and people we have never met. It has meant so much to us and with mum and dad pensioners there was no way they could come up with that kind of money and no way we can thank everyone for this help.”