Graphic: Terence Miller riding to raise money for RFDS

Terence completes the cycle

Date published

06 Aug 2021

How a former patient gave back to RFDS while on his road to recovery

“I had a massive, sudden, incredible pain in the back of my head. I knew that something had happened.” 

This was the day that train driver Terence Miller suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a sudden leakage from a blood vessel on the brain’s surface. It was a life-threatening condition and the local hospital in Mudgee didn’t have the necessary scanning equipment running. 

“My wife Veronica and the Mudgee doctors moved mountains to get me to Sydney,” Terence recalls. “I don’t like flying, but this time I had no choice.” 

Graphic: Terence Miller at the finish line

In coordination with NSW Ambulance, the RFDS (South Eastern Section) swung into action. Terence was first taken to Dubbo by road, then flown to Sydney in an RFDS King Air in the morning of 21 May 2019. By early afternoon he was in the hi-tech intensive care unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown.

Then three weeks later, when Terence was well enough to return home, an RFDS crew took him back to Mudgee to start his long road to total recovery. 

“I felt I was in good hands,” says Terence. “Like one of the ambulance crew said, I got VIP service!” 

Since Terence was unable to work for a while, he needed another focus to get his life back on track – and he turned to cycling. 

With the Mudgee Bike Club, Terence found a new community and his thoughts turned to the upcoming Mudgee Classic – a 120km ride across the rolling terrain of Central West New South Wales. 

Though the inaugural race was cancelled in 2020, at the age of 60 Terence finally rode the course in May this year – and became the event’s star fundraiser. At the time of writing he had raised more than $3,000 for the RFDS – nearly a third of the $10,000 collected for charities at the Mudgee Classic. 

“You never know when you’re going to need the RFDS,” says Terence, “and I’m really grateful to all the people who donated. That flight was crucial in saving my life, and without it I wouldn’t be here today.”

Terence and Wife Veronica

Terence at the finish line.