The Weekly Advertiser

Appeal to support Rainbow ‘true blue locals’

CLOSE TIES: Rainbow locals Peter and Casey Stasinowsky with their children, from left, Cooper, 11, Baxter, nine, Elsie, three, and Edison, six. Peter is currently in  Melbourne awaiting heart surgery.

CLOSE TIES: Rainbow locals Peter and Casey Stasinowsky with their children, from left, Cooper, 11, Baxter, nine, Elsie, three, and Edison, six. Peter is currently in Melbourne awaiting heart surgery.

By Colin MacGillivray
We all know that person who is involved in the community who won’t ask for help but deserves it…
That simple statement by Bridie Behmer encapsulates her brother-in-law, Peter Stasinowsky.
Having grown up and lived most of his life in the southern Mallee town of Rainbow, Peter is an integral part of his community’s social fabric.
From countless hours spent nurturing the talents of young footballers as Jeparit-Rainbow Football Netball Club’s Auskick coach to tireless work as Rainbow’s mechanic, Peter makes an impact across the town.
His wife Casey is equally regarded for her work at Rainbow hospital.
“They’re true blue locals,” Mrs Behmer said.
“They were both born and bred in Rainbow, went to Adelaide for a few years and then moved back home.
“Casey, my sister, got together with Pete when she was about 16. I’m six years younger than her, so I was 10 or 11 when I first met him.
“He’s my brother-in-law, but essentially he’s like my brother. I don’t really know life without him in it.”
Unfortunately, life without Peter is a possibility his family and Rainbow community have had to contemplate more than once.
In 2016, just after the birth of their daughter Elsie, the Stasinowskys received devastating news. A valve in Peter’s heart had deteriorated – the result of a golden staph infection in his knee years earlier – and needed to be replaced.
It was a testing time for the family. Peter spent three months in hospital before and after surgery, more than four hours away from his young family.
When he returned home however, the outlook was good.
Check-ups revealed little cause for concern and everything appeared good until Peter suddenly became sick in early February.
He was rushed to hospital in Ballarat and flown to the specialist cardiac unit at Melbourne’s Epworth Hospital.
The infection had returned, but now it was in his spine as well as his heart.
“He’s got another very nasty infection in his back and that infection has travelled to his heart and essentially
disintegrated another valve,” Mrs Behmer said.
“He wasn’t able to move, wasn’t able to stand up, wasn’t able to walk, wasn’t able to roll over.
“He was in extreme pain and they couldn’t get on top of it because the infection was affecting the nerves in his spinal canal. Everything runs through your spinal canal, so everything was affected.
“In treating that they had a look at his heart and realised there was a fair bit of damage there.
“He will have to go in and have more valves replaced.”
Mrs Behmer said the return of the infection had devastated the indefatigable Peter.
“This is a man with four kids. He doesn’t do things by halves,” she said.
“He would run around everywhere, take the kids everywhere and it was just go, go, go.
“Now he’s been lying in a hospital bed for four weeks. He’s lost weight. We think he will get back to a reasonable level, but right now he is not even at a quarter of his usual strength.
“My parents took the kids to see him and he had to say goodbye to them in case he doesn’t come through.
“He said it was one of the hardest parts, because he doesn’t know if he’s going to come out of the surgery.
“He was so relieved when he came out the first time, and now the poor bugger has got to go through it again.”
Mrs Behmer said Peter and Casey also had to deal with the anxiety of being away from their children and not having any connections in Melbourne.
“Elsie, their youngest, is three,” she said.
“She’s been without her parents for four weeks, and it looks like it might be another three months at least.
“My parents have had to take on four young, energetic, active children. They need a medal at the end of this, I think.”
With the cost of food, accommodation and other living expenses in Melbourne piling on top of the already stressed Stasinowskys, Mrs Behmer said she knew she had to do something.
She organised a donation page for the Stasinowkys on crowdfunding website and appealed to Rainbow locals to help get the word out.
Knowing the stoic Peter would be embarrassed by a public outpouring, Mrs Behmer kept it secret from him.
“I did it on a Saturday morning and turned off the computer and my phone, and said, ‘right, I’m going to garden for three hours so nobody can ring me up to tell me it’s a bad idea’,” she said.
“I got back in and my phone had messages from Pete telling me not to do it, and I had messages from Casey telling me to ignore him and pretend I was at pilates.”
Ultimately the page stayed up, and the Rainbow community responded with overwhelming generosity.
“We’re so grateful for the Rainbow community helping out,” Mrs Behmer said.
“I set an initial goal of $10,000 and thought if we get $5000 or anything, it would be absolutely great. The donations have been amazing, but people aren’t just giving their money, they’re coming around and trying to help.
“People have been dropping off food and slices. It’s more than just money.”
Mrs Behmer said the initial target of $10,000 had been set before confirmation Peter needed more surgery, meaning more donations were needed.
“Realistically I think they need $20,000 to get them through with accommodation, fuel and living expenses to be in Melbourne for three months,” she said.
“I think we’ll pull out all stops and see what we can get. The main thing is getting the word out and making sure Pete can get back home to his family.”
• People can donate to the Stasinowsky family by visiting website

The entire March 13, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Mar 12 2019

Posted by on Mar 12 2019. Filed under Health & Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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