When mum-of-two Daniella missed only one day on site during the WA renovation after being hospitalised with kidney stones, it was clear the Queensland team is made of pretty strong stuff.
One of the toughest teams ever to compete on the hit Channel Seven renovation show, chippie Aaron and former dancer Daniella have been to hell and back on and off the screen.
Four years ago, Aaron was bedridden in a Sydney hospital and faced major surgery that carried a 70 per cent chance of rendering him a paraplegic, while Daniella cared for their newborn son Jaxon alone on the Gold Coast.
‘It was a big life experience, that’s for sure,’ Aaron remembers.
‘Basically a disc moved in my neck and it was about two years later that I started getting pain. It was crippling, I literally couldn’t get out of bed.’
After being told by a doctor the disc could slip at any moment and leave the 31-year-old a paraplegic, the buff dad was forced to make a tough decision.
‘I was put on an emergency flight from the Gold Coast to Brisbane to see a surgeon,’ he recalls, explaining he was then sent to Sydney for an operation.
‘They rushed me in and put me through surgery. I woke up and I had a big needle and a tube sticking out of my neck.’
While the only reminder of Aaron’s surgery is a scar on the side of his neck, the married couple say they really struggled while making the decision to go ahead with the surgery.
‘It was a 70 per cent likelihood that he would be a paraplegic,’ 38-year-old Daniella explains. ‘So it was one of the hardest decisions of our lives to make, if he was going to have the surgery or not. The other option would have been for Aaron to be medicated for the rest of his life and in pain.
‘We’d had our first child, who was only six months old. Financially, we were stressing because Aaron couldn’t work and we had a baby, and we had to pay hospital bills.’
Despite a harrowing few months, a now healthy and fit Aaron hasn’t looked back.
‘My body physically couldn’t have kept going with the amount of medication I was taking,’ he says. ‘So we made a decision and I haven’t had any issues since.’
This story originally appeared in this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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