A tribute to our inspiration - Shevaune
11 August 2012
Youngcare is deeply saddened and heartbroken with the news that our beloved inspiration Shevaune has passed away after a brave struggle with MS at just 40. Shevaune inspired a community to create change and was the reason for Youngcare’s formation in 2005. By bravely sharing her story and journey with the Australian public, Shevaune shed a very bright light on the desperate lack of care and supported housing options for young Australians with 24/7 care needs.
Shevaune, by nature, was a selfless person, incredibly popular among her peers and much loved. She was successful in her career, and successful in inspiring an entire nation to stand up and say “all young people deserve to live young lives, regardless of their care needs.”
Shevaune created hope for thousands of young Australians and their families that change was possible, and on its way. She helped to bring attention to a massive hole in the health care system previously unaddressed, because it was seen to be too big and too complex. But not for Shevaune.
Youngcare was formed when Shevaune’s care needs became too great for her to remain at home in the care of her loved ones. Despite the best efforts of her family and friends to care for her at home, they discovered her only option was to live in aged care.
This was devastating for Shevaune, and her family and friends – such a desperate lack of full-time care options for young people in Australia was shocking. This enormous injustice sparked Shevy’s loved ones - David Conry, Matt Lawson, Simon Lockyer and Nick Bonifant to co-found Youngcare, vowing to change the way young people are cared for.
Shevaune’s story literally moved thousands of supportive Australians including businesses, government, and the community, resulting in the construction of the first ever Youngcare Apartments. Shevaune moved out of aged care and into her very own Youngcare Apartment, along with 15 other young people with high care needs. Finally, change had occurred – an example of what could be done – and Shevaune had a home that provided all the care and support she needed, enabling her to live the young life she so rightly deserved.
Shevy will forever live on through Youngcare’s work to provide more choice in where young people live and the care they receive. She has been the most influential catalyst for real and lasting change on this issue. She was one incredible woman with a big heart, and a firm belief that every young person deserves to live a young life.
The Youngcare team would like to express our deepest sympathy to Shevaune’s family and much loved friends. The loss of such a valuable and community minded person is unfathomable as she bettered the lives of many.
Shevaune was pivotal in creating modern-day change in Australia’s social fabric; for creating big, bright sparks of hope in the homes of many families right across the nation; and proved that change is absolutely possible in this lifetime for young people in desperate need of real care accommodation options.
That is Shevaune’s legacy to our country.
Shevaune & Youngcare
Youngcare was formed in 2005 with an entrepreneurial spirit and the committed belief that all young people deserve young lives.
When Shevaune, a young woman with Multiple Sclerosis, found that her care needs had become too great for her to remain at home in the care of loved ones, she and her family made a startling discovery. They found that there were limited options, and that Shevaune would have to spend the rest of her young life in an aged care home.
The four founders - David Conry, Matthew Lawson, Nicholas Bonifant, and Simon Lockyer - believed that aged care was no place for any young person and that such an environment for their loved one was simply inappropriate, undignified and irrelevant.
So, in just four years, they rallied the community, business and government to build the first Youngcare Apartments - a unique model of alternative residential care for young people with 24-hour care needs.
Shevaune’s brave journey has since inspired a community to continue to create change and shed a bright light on a dire national issue that had gone unaddressed for far too long. But whilst change has begun, it is important to note that there is still so much more that needs to be done. Youngcare needs continued support to:-
- Keep the phone lines staffed so we can continue to talk with young people and their families in desperate need of information and support.
- Build more choices in accommodation, so that no family should ever have to consider aged care as an acceptable place for their loved one.
- Continue to financially assist young people so they can remain living at home in the loving care of their family, with all the equipment and support that they need.