One-armed woodchopper: Safety message cuts through

CHAMPION AXEMAN: Nick Fredriksen hopes to raise awareness for child safety on farms and people with disabilities.
CHAMPION AXEMAN: Nick Fredriksen hopes to raise awareness for child safety on farms and people with disabilities. SONJA KOREMANS

CHAMPION one-armed woodchopper Nick Fredriksen hopes his support for a charity that saved his life will raise child safety awareness on farms.

Mr Fredriksen, 31, this month pledged to fundraise for LifeFlight in 2017 and donate money from his prize winnings.

"My aim is to raise awareness for people with disabilities but also to urge schools and families to educate children on how to stay safe and accident-free on farms," Mr Fredriksen said.

The Kilcoy farmer lost his left arm at the age of eight when his shirt got caught in a hay baler and dragged his arm through.

Mr Fredriksen cheated death a second time when he fell through glass louvres at 17 and deeply punctured a vein in his right arm.

"Back then children were fairly laidback on farms about safety but while I think awareness has improved, there is more that can be done to ensure families know what to do in an emergency like mine," he said.

"It's so important to me to give back to medical services like LifeFlight because I've needed them myself and know how much of a difference they can make."

About 20 children under 15 years of age are killed on Australian farms each year and dozens treated after accidents.

The major causes of child deaths and injuries on farms are dams, farm vehicles, machinery, motorcycles and horses.

Mr Fredriksen is a qualified heavy plant operator, an accomplished swimmer, competing at national swimming titles, and Australia's only competitive arm amputee woodchopper.

He first picked up an axe when he was four years old, and he's been competing in the sport for 20 years.

He travels to regional shows and competitions around Australia and New Zealand, including the Brisbane Ekka and Sydney Royal Easter Show and has notched up dozens wins against able-bodied woodchoppers.

"I'm dedicated to this sport and think it's important to encourage others not to hold back in getting involved with things like this," he said.

"It's a case of mind over matter. If you let a disability like mine get to you, it's hard to move on and you can't achieve what you want to achieve in life."

Mr Fredriksen was placed second in two events and third in another of five categories he entered at the Killarney Show on the weekend

Topics:  editors picks killarney show

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