Gavin McCann was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in January 2015. Being told this news is devastating for anyone. Gavin however, used this news to live out his long time dream. He didn’t once complain what was going to happen to him. He instead bought a boat. From that day on, Gavin says “I live with a smile on my face every single day”.
Gavin is certainly unique. Not only did he just buy a boat, he lives on it. After initially docking the boat in Apollo Bay, which was close to his home in Colac, he came across Bill, who suggested he take his boat across the state to the Gippsland Lakes at Paynesville. Why you may ask? The winds down at Apollo Bay really didn’t suit being on a boat as you start losing the strength in your legs.
Bill introduced Gavin to the Paynesville Motor Cruiser Club and the many locals associated with it. Gavin has found himself a new family, a community who has got behind him to help him live the best life possible.
Living on a boat with MND at first thought sounds incredibly risky, maybe even naïve. Gavin dispelled all those thought quite quickly, maybe it was his infectious smile and positive outlook? Nevertheless, he explained that boats are compact, he can reach everything in each part of the boat, even if he has to lean on walls. It has hand rails everywhere and even rails on the roof to hang on to. There is no glass in the shower or anywhere else.
He continued to explain he can live independently on his boat whereas if he has to make the trip back to his home in Colac, he needs constant help from his wife.
I think it is fair to say that doing the washing doesn’t excite anyone. Gavin is an exception. The washing machines are in a facility on the other side of the marina. How does Gavin manage to do this? He jumps on his jet ski with his washing basket, heads on over and then spends the next hour just cruising through all the canals until the washing is done.
Gavin has constant ideas on how to adapt his boat to accommodate the progression of MND. The community around him help in everyway they can to implement these ideas and modify his boat accordingly. There is nothing the power of community can’t accomplish in situation’s like Gavin’s.
Everyone at the Motor Cruiser Club has been so touched by Gavin’s story that they are throwing a fundraising event in his honour in April. A traditional ice bucket challenge with a twist. On the boat with many people suffering the fate of ice cold water dunked on them by a special creation by Gavin. There will be live bands, hundreds of people watching from the balcony and the support of the whole community.
Vita brevis est edite primum secondam. This is the quote on the front of Gavin’s boat. He says it translates to ‘life is short, eat the first seconds’. Gavin is adamant that he will keep maximising the time he has left. He only gets off his boat every couple of months when he needs to head back to Geelong for specialist appointments. He understands what motor neurone disease is doing to him but he intends on ‘living the dream’ right to the very end!