Maryborough local’s inspirational journey after injury recognised

Maryborough local Jessica McDowell has won the Injured worker achievement award (return to work) at Worksafe Queensland’s Safe Work and Return to Work Awards 2019.

Recognised for her successful rehabilitation and return to work, Jess has made a remarkable recovery and returned to work following the amputation of her left leg.

Working as a personal care worker with Churches of Christ Care Fair Haven Aged Care Service in Maryborough, Jess was on her way home when she slipped and dislocated her left knee, suffering a fracture that impacted her arteries and the supply of blood in her leg.

Jess was airlifted to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, where she underwent a series of surgeries to save her leg, and was advised that she would require an amputation above her knee.

It was her love for her career as a personal care worker that was the driving force behind her rehabilitation journey.

As she continued to undergo an intense rehabilitation program and major changes to the accessibility of her home and car, Jess’ return to work helped her overcome both physical and psychological challenges.
“I have always loved my job. When I had my accident and was told I had to have my leg amputated, all I cared about was getting back to work,” Jess said.

With the support of her mother Lyn, Fair Haven Aged Care Service Manager Cherylee Baker and the team at Churches of Christ in Queensland, Jess returned to work within four months.

“Jess is the most positive person I have encountered. She overcame her barriers with an eagerness to re-engage with her friends, colleagues and residents, determined that she was not going to let her injury stop her from doing the things she loved most,” Mrs Baker said.

Jess’ colleagues and the residents at the aged care service continue to be inspired by the power of her positivity. Her actions and attitude are a reminder to others to not take things for granted and enjoy life.

“No matter if you’re in a wheelchair or not, you can volunteer or even cheer people on to help them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only got one leg, it doesn’t stop you doing anything if you’ve got a positive attitude for life,” Jess said.

Jess has now enrolled to complete a Certificate IV in Leisure and Health. She regularly participates in the Maryborough Parkrun, with her end goal to complete the course on two feet.

The Safe Work and Return to Work Awards showcase Queensland’s best work health and safety, rehabilitation and return to work champions. Winners were announced on Wednesday 9 October. Posted October 8, 2019 in News