Stephanie loves going out, socialising with her friends and has a passion for animals – in particular training her assistance dog Moe. She is also a 29-year-old women living with Ataxia-telangiectasia.
Steph’s disability is degenerative, which means that over time she has lost the coordination to control her motorised wheelchair by herself. In addition, she now finds it difficult and tiring to sit upright in her wheelchair all day.
For this reason, Steph and her family decided to apply for a ‘tilt-in-space’ wheelchair that is better suited to Steph’s care needs and will be more comfortable for her when she goes out. Steph also uses an all-terrain wheelchair, which weighs over 100kgs that she can use when she is out with the horses. The problem with these chairs is that they are bulky and hard to lift. This makes it impossible to fit into a regular car, and requires a disability modified van for transport.
“We’ve put off buying a van forever, knowing the expense and everything involved. But it came to crunch time and we needed it so we could get her around safely. It was getting to the stage where Steph was too tired and didn’t want to do the transfer – she didn’t want to go out anymore,”
“We had to do something before her condition deteriorated more so it didn’t impact on her quality of life. And I’m getting old too, so I have issues with the lifting and transfers too – I can do it twice and that is about it, that’s my limit.” Beverley, Steph’s Mum.
The difficulty of getting out into the community was affecting not only Steph and Beverley’s physical health, but also beginning to affect Steph’s mental health.
“It put her off wanting to go anywhere and do things, knowing that we can only take the smaller chair, which means she never felt safe. So then she would have anxiety and all the normal things related from when you’re stressed out, it caused a lot of worry.”
With her modified van, Steph will be able to go out like any other young woman, and enjoy her young life in the community. She goes out every day to different activities, like arts and crafts, cooking, as well as attending her horsemanship course. Steph is also looking forward to going on more holidays, to places like Hervey Bay or the Gold Coast.
The van is big enough to fit two wheelchairs, and Steph’s other equipment. This means that no matter where she goes, she will be confident knowing that she has everything she needs to travel freely and safely.
Beverley says that without your valuable donations, Steph’s life would have been much harder. When applying to the NDIA for assistance funding the van, Beverley who is 53 years old, was told to use her Superannuation to help cover the cost of the van.
To you, the people who help to make this happen, Steph would like to say: