I’m sure there are many people out there that can vividly remember that fateful day which stands as the worst rail disaster in Australia’s history. On the 18th of January 1977 a crowded commuter train crashed into the bridge supports at Granville whilst on its way to Sydney. To this day people speak of their lives being spared by simply missing the train. Others lost their life by giving up their seat to a stranger or by their choice of carriage. The statistics were devastating: 83 people died from the disaster which left a further 210 injured. Over the years there has been one survivor whose story the Australian people have followed, that of Debbie Woodgate.

The then-nineteen year old Debbie Skow readied herself for work that fateful morning. She had fairly recently began work as a police woman at Roden Cutler House, police headquarters, and was frustrated when she learned that her car had broken down, reluctantly opting to catch the train instead. Debbie was travelling in the carriage directly under the bridge and was crushed by over 400 tons of concrete. The carriage was crushed to just 45cm in height, and she was trapped therein for 12 hours after the initial incident. She was the last person rescued from the disaster site and was airlifted to a local hospital by helicopter where doctors estimated her chance of recovery was around 1%.

Debbie’s story from that day onwards reads as a textbook example of the strength of human spirit: 18 months in Intensive Care, eleven years of rehabilitation and decades later we are presented with a woman that didn’t stop at beating the odds of survival, but went on to walk again, get married, become a mother, work as a volunteer in several charities and run her own business. Debbie established Mobility Options nearly eleven years ago and it has grown from a small outlet in Castle Hill to a retail superstore in Pennant Hills. The establishment of this business venture is typical of Debbie’s attitude to life where she is still looking to help the aged and disabled by selling equipment at a fair price.