Canowindra Bowling Club to host fundraiser for Zak Lees

RECOVERY: Zak Lees and Zoe Brownett before his accident. RIGHT: The remains of his ute after the crash which nearly killed him. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
RECOVERY: Zak Lees and Zoe Brownett before his accident. RIGHT: The remains of his ute after the crash which nearly killed him. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Despite COVID lockdowns putting a halt on plans, the Canowindra Bowling Club is set to host a fundraiser for Cargo resident Zak Lees.

The club will be holding a Bowls Day and wood raffle in late November or early December, with a date to be confirmed.

Canowindra Bowling Club chairman, Roger Traves, said the club had already donated funds to Mr Lees following a previous wood raffle held earlier this year.

Mr Lees hit a tree on Davys Plains Road on the night of Saturday, June 26 when the 22-year-old had been returning to the farmhouse he shared with his girlfriend Zoe Brownett near Cargo.

She had been trying to call him without success.

"I finished working in Blayney and was travelling back home," Miss Brownett said.

"I couldn't get hold of him or didn't hear from him so I went looking for him, and surely enough, I found him wrapped around a tree."

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After being cut from his ute by NSW Fire and Rescue, his condition was deemed so critical he was airlifted to St George Hospital in Sydney.

"The paramedics thought he was dead that night, but they managed to save him and he was in a coma for two or three days," Miss Brownett said.

"It almost killed him. A lot of people have said that they marked him down as dead that night."

The damage to Mr Lees' leg was so significant, doctors thought it would have to be amputated.

As well as severe nerve damage, his right leg's major ligaments - the ACL and MCL - had also been torn.

In addition to having no memory of the accident, the 22-year-old also couldn't recall the day leading up to it, nor even events from the week in which it occurred.

Fortunately, after a long two-month hospital stay and many surgeries and skin grafts, his condition finally began to improve.

Now, over three months' on from his accident, Mr Lees is back home in the Central West with his girlfriend and pets, and trying to adapt to a lifestyle that is a lot more home-bound and inactive than what he is used to.

The impact of the accident has meant having to give up his farmhand job, but according to Miss Brownett, there's been no shortage of support from the community.

Along with the Canowindra Bowling Club, Mr Lees' former local - the Cargo Inn - is running a raffle to raise money to assist in his road to recovery.

It will be drawn on Saturday, October 16, at the pub and tickets can be purchased from there or from Cargo General Store.

"He's fairly recovered, he's out of hospital and has been out of hospice [for] about a month now. But he has a huge chunk of skin missing from the back of his leg and... has no feeling in the top of his left foot," Miss Brownett said.

"So [he's] still obviously recovering. He's doing rehab and is pretty much home-bound but he's slowly on the mend.

"He will be able to work [again] eventually - probably not what he used to do, just with the way his legs are, as he's had two knee reconstructions. Both of his legs were pretty much shattered... They reckon he might be out for a while but I think being young and healthy and fit is definitely an advantage for him."

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