Gavin describes himself as having an “incredibly lucky” life, despite being dealt what many would likely view as an unlucky hand.
Gavin and his wife care for their two sons, 23 and 15, who both have complex health issues. Their eldest has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an untreatable genetic condition affecting joints, skin and blood vessels, a condition not diagnosed until he was 18, after countless operations and hospital visits.
On top of this, Gavin’s youngest son suffers severe anaphylactic reactions to over 32 different food groups.
For many hearing Gavin’s story, the reaction would be one of despair or resignation. For Gavin, it was what it was.
“People said to us how do you do it?” Gavin says. “They would ask How do you cope? The answer is: you just do.”
It’s clear Gavin took to his situation with a rare and refreshing perspective. “We were really fortunate,” he says. “We got to take our kids home from hospital. Many families don’t.”
The $5000 Gavin has won is a drop in the ocean compared to the emotional, physical and financial cost of his family’s day-to-day life, but he says it was a piece of uniquely positive news, and that he was intent on treating it as such.
“Most people probably say this, but we’ve never won anything,” Gavin tells us. “I’ve been supporting The Deaf Lottery for three years, and helping a good cause is so important to me.”
“After I got the news, we sat down as a family and I asked the kids what they would love to do the most. They both said they wanted a holiday.”
Gavin says he is planning to take a cruise, their first family holiday in “well over a decade” and a step up from the caravan parks of holidays past.
“As a family, we’ve gone through 27 orthopaedic operations and endless hospital visits. This money will allow us to go away as a family to regroup and reconnect,” Gavin says.
The trip will be something of a bookend for Gavin and his wife, who celebrated their 25thwedding anniversary two years ago with a cruise of their own, funded by much more personal connection.
Gavin’s father had, unbeknownst to Gavin, accumulated gold in the form of jewellery over the course of his life, with a view to bequeathing its value to Gavin and his brother after he and Gavin’s mother were no longer with them.
Unfortunately and sadly, Gavin’s father and brother both passed away within the space of only a few months. Gavin’s mother gave Gavin the jewellery straight away and encouraged them to use it on themselves.
“It was so important to her,” Gavin says. “She wanted to share in the joy the gift would give us.”
Gavin’s gratitude to those who have supported his family is honest and genuine, and it’s clear he shares his family’s philosophy of treasuring moments of joy.
We wish Gavin and his family a wonderful holiday!
*Name changed to maintain anonymity.