Strawbridge gives back after life-saving treatment

Andrew Strawbridge (Photosport)
Andrew Strawbridge (Photosport)

Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge says he's been humbled by the outpouring of support he received as he faced a life-threatening eye infection.

The 51-year-old became critically ill while travelling to Apia to help Samoa take on the All Blacks in July. He now wants to give back to those who saved his life.

Strawbridge and his family know he's a lucky man, so much so Strawbridge says he avoids thinking about how close it came.

The Manu Samoa technical advisor contracted an eye infection on his way to Samoa for the historic Test against the All Blacks.

By the time players were battling it out on the field, Strawbridge had a battle of his own at the under-resourced Intensive Care Unit at the National Hospital in Apia.

The eye infection has left him blind in one eye, but he puts his survival down to the expertise of the doctor who worked on him.

"There's a high attrition rate in Samoa," he says. "[They] said I was very, very lucky that Dave Galler was there. If he hadn't have been, I probably wouldn't be here."

The father-of-three spent two nights in Intensive Care. He was then medevaced to Hamilton for further treatment.

Strawbridge says the road to recovery is slow, but he and his family now want to give back to the Samoan hospital that helped care for him.

A Givealittle appeal has raised more than $40,000 for Samoa's Intensive Care Unit and Strawbridge is keen to raise more. It's a small contribution in return for life-saving treatment.

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