Early 2012 a few months after the accident. Luke after having a hand sized piece of skull removed to save his life. Nathan Reinbott (brother) to the right. Luke Reinbott Photo Contributed
Early 2012 a few months after the accident. Luke after having a hand sized piece of skull removed to save his life. Nathan Reinbott (brother) to the right. Luke Reinbott Photo Contributed Contributed

Man's desperate bid to save his brother's life

NATHAN Reinbott is desperate to save the life of his brother Luke who is living with an excruciatingly painful time bomb that could kill him any time.

Mr Reinbott knows it's a big ask, but he is hopeful Toowoomba can help raise the $130,000 that is needed so Luke can undergo lifesaving surgery in the United States.

"It's a big ask to try and raise the money, but we're having a go," Mr Reinbott said.

"Luke is booked in for September 21 in San Francisco and the reason for the urgency is that this thing could break at any time and potentially kill him."

Mr Reinbott has watched Luke recover from a traumatic brain injury then a stroke, but it is a small device surgeons left in a critical vein inside Luke that is now threatening his life.

Early 2012. Luke's initial hospital and rehab stay was 14 months long. Pictured with Mother and Father Paula and Judy Reinbott. Luke's right side is completely paralysed here. Luke Reinbott Photo Contributed
Early 2012. Luke's initial hospital and rehab stay was 14 months long. Pictured with Mother and Father Paula and Judy Reinbott. Luke's right side is completely paralysed here. Luke Reinbott Photo Contributed Contributed

The inferior vena cava was Luke's lifesaver while he was recovering from TBI in hospital in November, 2011.

The IVC was inserted to help protect Luke's lungs and from blood clots and was meant to be removed within a few months.

That never happened, and now the small, once lifesaving device has shifted, its sharp prongs threatening to pierce Luke's aorta artery and dig into his spine.

"The life threatening thing about this is that the filter can break at any moment and travel in his blood supply and go to his heart," Mr Reinbott said.

"It's like having a hand grenade inside you, and we've only just found out how serious it is."

Removal in Australia means open surgery, slicing into the vein and taking the barb out.

It's a major procedure, but one that is able to be done less invasively in the United States by renowned interventional radiologist Dr William Kuo.

"We would like for the surgeon to have the home-court advantage to be in his own workshop and be familiar with everything," Mr Reinbott said.

"The only way to get it out (in Australia) is a very risky open surgery that will cut into the vein and get it out that way.

"It's very risky (but) the surgeon at Stanford University Hospital in America has pioneered a way to take it out endoscopically in conjunction with laser.

"Over there it's a minor procedure and they do several a week."

mid 2011 before the accident. Luke and partner Stacey with the world at their feet. (founded Smiles of strength 2 months before she died in March 2014 from an extremely rare heart condition. Luke Reinbott Photo Contributed
mid 2011 before the accident. Luke and partner Stacey with the world at their feet. (founded Smiles of strength 2 months before she died in March 2014 from an extremely rare heart condition. Luke Reinbott Photo Contributed Contributed

Mr Reinbott said open surgery was too risky for Luke who, despite the TBI, subsequent stroke and the tragic death of his fiance last year, remained upbeat on his road to recovery.

He also understood the $130,000 was a big ask, but the family has grown desperate for help.

Luke will need to travel in business or first class to accommodate his 193cm tall frame, as well as costs for the surgery and to pay for Luke's mother and father to travel with him.

"Luke is booked in for surgery on September 21 so that's the reason for this urgency," Mr Reinbott said.

More than $28,000 has been raised around south-east Queensland since the plea for help went out this week.

The Cave Gym, at its grand opening in Toowoomba today, will dedicate all proceeds to getting Luke to the US.

The registered charity Smiles of Strength, started by Luke's fiance Stacey Mowle shortly before she died last year, will deliver all donated funds to the cause.

A gofundme.com account has also been established.

"It's a big ask to try and raise the money, I know, but we're having a go," Mr Reinbott said.

How you can help

  • The Cave Gym will donate all proceeds from a fundraiser at its grand opening today to the cause.
  • Phone 0438 989 625 or drop by at 373 Ruthven St
  • Smiles of Strength will deliver 100% of funds donated to the cause.
  • Online GoFundMe account
  • Read more of Luke's inspirational story on the Facebook page, Stand For Brother Luke


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