For Katrina and Brendan Carroll and their four boys, this summer has been one of the best they’ve had.
For the first time in years the whole family has been able to go to the beach together, spontaneously decide to go on family outings and enjoy a walk through their local bush reserve. All of this was made possible through The Disability Trust’s Kids Fund which has provided a beach wheelchair for 10-year-old Jacob who has cerebral palsy.
Mrs Carroll said Jacob loved getting outside with his twin brother Samuel and younger siblings, Alex, eight and Lucas, aged six and particularly enjoyed going to the beach.
“We use to go to the beach a few years ago, but we just stopped because it became inaccessible for us as a family,” Mrs Carroll said.
Jacob has a wheelchair and uses a walking frame to walk short distances but cannot walk across sand and when his brothers joined nippers at Towradgi Surf Life Saving Club, the only option was to carry Jacob or for one parent to stay at home with him.
“Brendan and I were taking turns to carry him down to the beach but Jacob was embarrassed because his class mates were doing nippers and a 10-year-old doesn’t want to be carried in front of his friends.”
She said the $6,500 beach wheelchair was ideal for the soft sand and could be used in the water. The wheels can also be changed for use on rough terrain.
“It’s just brilliant. We call it a beach wheelchair but really, it is so much more than that.
“It has made such a difference to us. It’s not just for Jacob, its for the whole family.
“We really want to say thank you to the community for their support.”
Mr Carroll said the family could now make spontaneous decisions to go out together instead of having to plan everything ahead of time.
“It’s enabled us to be a normal family and do the things that other people take for granted,” Mr Carroll said.
“It means Jacob can join in with his brothers now.”
The Disability Trust will hold a Gala Night on July 16 to raise money for the Kids Fund and Respite House.