IT WAS just another day felling trees for Urbenville timber worker Troy Hill when fate dealt him a horrible blow.
Just two weeks before Christmas, the 32-year old father of three suffered a shocking accident while cutting bush logs north of Woodenbong.
A tree Troy had just felled glanced another, which snapped off and plummeted backwards at a 45-degree angle, exactly where he was trained to take cover - 17m away in the clear zone.
The main trunk of the tree missed him by less than a metre but a smaller branch with a fork pierced and ripped down the length of his thigh.
"He actually saw it coming and started running away again, but as he turned around this thing just pegged him," close mate Steve Smales said.
"It was a freak accident - there were a few things that went wrong that had to line up exactly.
"If he was half a metre to the right, he would have died."
Suffering horrific injuries to his leg and serious injuries to his lower torso and back, Mr Hill was airlifted in a critical condition to Lismore Base Hospital by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
After two weeks in an induced coma in Lismore, his leg wound was riddled with a severe infection, so the doctor in charge moved him to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.
Another three weeks later and following at least 20 attempts to remove the infection, doctors had no choice but to amputate Mr Hill's leg at the hip in order to preserve his life.
The loss of his leg wasn't the end of his ordeal, but it did finally remove the infection.
"He started coming good after that," Mr Smales said.
About four weeks ago, Mr Hill was moved from intensive care and last week doctors performed a skin graft to close the wound.
He's expected to stay on his back for another three weeks before he can move, but hopes are high he might receive a military-grade prosthetic leg.
Mr Smales said his friend would not let the accident keep him down.
"Once he's up and around he'll be doing the same stuff as he did before," he said.
"He's stubborn and tough - he'll figure a way around it. If it was someone else, they probably would have died out there."
TROY HILL FUNDRAISER
The Urbenville community has come together to put on a fundraising day at the Urbenville Showgrounds tomorrow for Troy and his family.
A 20/20-style round robin cricket tournament, dubbed the Troy Hill Swampy Classic, already has eight teams registered.
The bowls club will also be hosting games for anyone wanting to play. Kids' cricket and mini-golf and other games will be on for the young ones. Raffles arranged by the Urbenville Progress Association will be drawn throughout the day.
For those who can't attend but wish to donate, phone Colleen Scofield on 6634 1227.