Quad bike crash took Bevan Vendt's sight, but not his will to see loved ones again – Stuff


It’s been a year and a half since Gisborne diesel mechanic Bevan Vendt has seen anything.
He lost his sight, and was within an inch of losing his life, in a serious quad bike accident on Waihau beach, about 50km north of Gisborne, on January 23, 2021.
Vendt, 38, can’t recall anything of the week leading up to the accident, or of the week following it.
He suffered a long list of bad injuries and fractures in the crash, which appears to have occurred as the quad bike flipped while going over a sand dune.
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Thankfully someone else on the beach saw what happened and alerted Vendt’s cousin, Ngahiwi Dewes, who rushed to find Vendt unconscious and not breathing.
Dewes performed CPR and a rescue helicopter was called. Vendt was in a very bad way, and the odds were stacked against his survival.
After eight days in an induced coma he was brought to. It was then that he discovered he couldn’t see. His optic nerve had been badly damaged. It cannot be repaired or replaced.
Loss of sight has had a huge impact on Vendt, who loves the outdoors. But he’s getting back out there.
He’s been diving with his 13-year-old son Kobe, pig-hunting with his best mate, has spent plenty of hours in the gym and swimming pool, and last year he was named Athlete of the Year by Parafed Tairāwhiti.
It wasn’t without difficulties though.
“In the early days in rehab I was a bit of a dick, to be honest.”
Vendt said he recalled his brother giving him a talking to; reminding him he almost died.
“I don’t know exactly when that was, but that flicked a switch.
“I knew there were two ways to deal with it. I could hate the world, dig my heels in, and buck against everyone trying to help. Or I could knuckle down and make the most of it and get back home… I decided to do that.”
Vendt said there had been good days and bad days. Luckily, there had been a lot more of the good days.
He credited a great team and whānau with supporting him. Vendt also had a psychiatrist to help him when things got a bit tough.
Vendt’s family did a lot of research in the months after his accident, and discovered the Restore Vision Clinic in Berlin, which treats people with his type of injury.
The clinic, which uses electrical stimulation, has given him a 75% chance of improving his sight.
It’s expensive – the cost of treatment, flights and accommodation for Bevan and a support person has been put at $80,000.
Family and friends have organised various fundraising events including a games night at the Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club on June 25, with prizes donated by 40 local businesses and individuals, and a bingo night at the club on July 30.
They also set up a Givealittle page, which has raised $26,500 so far.
Asked what he’d most like to see again, Vendt doesn’t hesitate with his reply: “loved ones”.
“You take that for granted, the little thing of being able to see your loved ones, being able to see the expressions on their faces.
“It’d be pretty awesome to be able to see my loved ones again,” he said.
© 2022 Stuff Limited

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