My name is Dion Detterer. I have muscular dystrophy, so I use a wheelchair. I also use a ventilator 24/7.
The van I use for transportation isn't working any more. Last year it failed while I was evacuating during the October bushfires, and recently it died in 40 degree heat while I was coming home from a hospital visit. I was in extreme heat for over three hours, trying to figure out how to get home. In addition, a truck almost wiped me off the road while we were stopped on the side of the M4 motorway--not an ideal scenario.
I need a van I can use to get around where I don't risk killing myself, my carers or my loved ones, either through heat exhaustion, dehydration or an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.
I need to go to medical appointments, community functions and events for my university research. I'm a PhD student, and my research will help the scientific community discover the genetic basis of common diseases; if I had a working van, I'd find it easier to engage with other researchers--something I can't do physically right now.
I've known for a while that the van I have now is not safe for me to travel in, especially in the heat, but I simply have not been able to afford to replace it. It's now 16 years old--I've spent years already trying to get this problem fixed, and for a while there, it was doing OK. Now, however, the problem has returned, worse than ever. It's obviously a recurring fault that will not go away.
That's why I'm asking the wider community for help.
The money raised will be used to buy a new van and outfit it with the necessary modifications for wheelchair access and travel, in order to give me the freedom others take for granted.
I hope you'll be able to help me achieve my goal.