Though she dreamed of becoming a vet or an astronaut as a child, Alison McGirr has ended up on an acting path and is easily one of Australia’s finest talents. She made her on-screen debut in Home and Away, delighted us in the highest grossing Aussie film of 2018, Ladies in Black, and is getting her life together in the hilarious dramedy THIRTY.
And next week the bright-eyed star will be taking on her most important role yet – hosting a fundraiser for a beloved family member, Stefan Carroll, who recently suffered a traumatic spinal injury.
Tell me a little bit about Stefan before the accident?
Alison: He is my second cousin, his incredible mum is my cousin. Stefan moved from Ireland to Brisbane when he was 23 then to Sydney before going back to Queensland to work in construction. He’s a live wire! Super fun, amazing, typical Irish lad.
How did the injury occur?
Alison: Just playing with kids in the pool on a Saturday night. He literally just dived in at the wrong angle crumbling section of his spine. No alcohol was involved, not that it matters, but obviously it’s the first thing people think about. The lady who owned the house is a paramedic, and she kept him in the pool floating. He’s so lucky. If it had’ve been me, I wouldn’t have known to do that. I probably would’ve tried to grab him out. She saved his life before an ambulance arrived.
Incredible to know he is alive…
Alison: About half way through the second week after the accident, Stefan came off the ventilator and tubes were coming out. As he woke his arms and body showed life. It shows the strength of his personality and who he is. Emotionally it is difficult and doctors say many boys of his age won’t get in a wheelchair, they just want to get up, walk out. However, Stefan, understands a wheelchair will get him around. He has his support group and only recently, he got back in a pool for the first time for hydrotherapy to help move his arms and fingers.
How can people help?
Alison: A GoFundMe page has been set up by his good mates. Expectations have been exceeded which gets me emotional. Stefan too. He’s overwhelmed that people he doesn’t even know are donating to help. Rehab, equipment, redoing the house, a power wheelchair designed for him are some of the purchases this fundraising goes towards.
As the MC of the special event, will you be singing?
Alison: Probably! Anything could happen, I might just drag people out of the crowd to dance.
Will Stefan be there too?
Alison: He wants to. He might stay for a little while. We’re still working that out, even if it’s a live cross or recorded message just to say hello. We’re just unbelievably appreciative, Stefan and the family, for people helping or donating. Any amount matters. It renews your faith in humans. It’s been hard in life for everyone in recent times, so I just want to say thank you.
Event Details: Saturday, 19 June at the Queensland Gaaelic Football Association, 318 Bowhill Road, Willawong.
(Feature Image Credit: Sally Flegg; Supplied)