Damien's Helping Hands Wheelchair Car

Damien's Helping Hands - "Many Hands Make Light Work". This is the name under which all fundraising efforts to support Damien will be held. As Damien has a Global Development Delay, he will require an ongoing amount of equipment, therapy and support throughout his life.

See Damien's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DamiensHelpingHands

My name is Wendy and I am the very proud mother of Laura 9, who is of typical development and Damien 6. As a baby, Damien showed signs of very slow development. After some investigation and an MRI it was discovered, when he was 7 months old that he has global brain damage. This means damage which is spread all over his brain. He has had every test the relevant medical teams at the Children's Hospital could come up with to determine the cause of his brain damage, but, to no avail. To this day, we do not know the cause of this damage. His current diagnosis is a global developmental delay, hypotonic cerebral palsy, microcephaly (small head syndrome) and epilepsy.

Up until now, I have been able to use my 2000 Commodore Station Wagon to transport both my children around. Damien is growing quickly and I am now struggling to lift Damien out of his wheelchair and into the booster seat in the back of the car. I have injured both of my shoulders and sprained a rib on my right side twice lifting him in the past 9 months.

The time has come for me to purchase wheelchair modified vehicle. This means that Damien will travel in his wheelchair inside the car. Thankfully, the Government funds $10,000 of the $34,000 modification to the car. I hope GoFundMe can help us raise the remaining $24,000. Unfortunately, I am now left with the huge task of fundraising the money to purchase a suitable car - Kia Carnival and the remainder of the car modification costs, approx $70,000 in total. A second hand car varies in price from $30k to $60k. I need this car to last at least 15 years so I don't need to repeat this huge fundraising task.

Damien turned 6 on the 9th April 2013 and is in his second year at special school. He weighs 28 kg and stands 110cm tall. He is very, very heavy to lift. He loves going to school and is picked up by the special school bus each morning and returned home each afternoon.

He cannot crawl, walk, stand unsupported or talk.

There are several things which make Damien happy.
- Cuddles with Laura and I
- Going to school
- Playing in water
- Bouncing on the trampoline
- Eating (anything really, he loves his food)
- Watching "Bear in the Big Blue House" and "Hi 5"
- Singing/acting "Row Row Row your Boat"
- Listening to music, like Norah Jones, Rainforest Magic
- Being massaged
- Having "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book read to him
And a whole lot of other fun stuff!

Unfortunately, 6 months after Damien's diagnosis, like a lot of families where there is a child with a disability, our marriage broke down, we separated and are now divorced. Due to my huge responsibilities as a single mum and Damien's endless medical appointments, I am unable to gain a job which allows the flexibility I require to meet these needs. I have a small business which helps us a little, but, doesn't impress the bank enough to loan me $70,000.

We are fortunate to access wonderful respite carers who visit, as needed, to help care for Damien in our home. This may include a shower, taking him for walks and generally keeping him busy while I spend some precious time with my daughter Laura.

I am approaching several charities, applying for funding and grants where possible as well as conducting various fundraising activities to reach my goal, ASAP.

Please like our facebook page www.facebook.com/DamiensHelpingHands and watch our progress, if you can help us in any way, please contact me, I would love your support. Many hands make light work and I would love to welcome as many of "Damien's Helping Hands" as I can!

Wendy x

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Wendy Arnold Patella 
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