Tamworth community rallies to help stranded nurse

TAMWORTH nurse Roz Norman should be back home by this afternoon after falling seriously ill overseas while on a trip-of-a-lifetime holiday.

Mrs Norman, who was accompanied by her husband Garry, contracted pneumonia in Vienna, Austria, after initially suffering a chest infection two weeks into the European holiday she fell into a coma and had to be put on life support.

She pulled through after about three weeks and yesterday the couple were on a flight from Dubai to Sydney, which was due to arrive at 7.45am today. They are expected to arrive in Tamworth on one of the afternoon flights.

A “Bring Our Roz Home” fundraising dinner was held at Wests’ Diggers on Saturday night where it is believed several thousand dollars was raised by locals through about 20 auction prizes – everything from holidays to floor rugs – as well as raffles and donations. The exact figure raised won’t be known until later this week.

Mrs Norman’s daughter Melissa Nicholson said the night went extremely well, with almost 100 people in attendance.

The entertainment for the night was performer Mark Shay, who donated the takings from the sale of his CDs on the night.

The fundraiser was necessary because the travel insurance company refused to pay for Mrs Norman’s medical bills, which are estimated to total up to $30,000, saying the illness was caused by a pre-existing condition.

She also needed to fly back to Australia in business class, to accommodate the oxygen machine she has to use and to give her enough room to lie down while she slept.

She was able to pay for part of the medical expenses in order to go home, but the remainder will need to be paid in the near future.

“Dad hates flying, but I tell you, he’s never been so excited to get on a plane,” Mrs Nicholson said.

During the fundraiser member for New England Tony Windsor dropped by to give his support, and by coincidence Mr Norman called his daughter in the middle of the event.

He was put on speakerphone, with the phone held up to the microphone, to allow everyone there to hear him and his wife – and vice versa – and to express their appreciation.

“I think it was so good for everyone to hear mum’s voice,” Mrs Nicholson said.

She thanked Wests’ Diggers and the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ 

Association’s Tamworth branch for their support, as well as Emirates and Qantas for being accommodating and helpful to her parents.

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