New wheels a weight off family’s shoulders
8 year-old Noah von Bergheim and his family can access their community more easily thanks to their new wheelchair-modified van, which was funded with the assistance of Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program.
Noah has Lissencephaly and Epilepsy, and endured a number of prolonged seizures at the start of 2015, which required emergency medications. These seizures and their potential for recurrence meant that Noah could no longer travel on the school bus, which made things a little tricky for his parents Gavin and Belinda.
“Noah’s a growing boy and his increasing height and weight meant that getting him in and out of our small SUV was a twice-daily safety risk for him and his mum” Gavin said.
“Because of this, Belinda and the kids were largely housebound and limited car trips to medical and therapy appointments, which was very restrictive and unfair on them.”
“Belinda and I realised that we urgently needed a vehicle that would allow us to transfer Noah to and from his wheelchair safely so that our family could start enjoying the community again.”
The von Bergheim’s received a $5000 grant through Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program to help purchase a second-hand Kia Carnival, which was modified to accommodate Noah’s wheelchair. Additional funding from Variety WA, Telethon, Independent Living Centre and WA Charity Direct also helped cover costs, which totalled $37,000.
Since receiving the modified vehicle, the von Bergheims say family life has greatly improved.
“We are now able to get Noah to school and medical appointments safely and easily,” Gavin said.
“The vehicle has given us more opportunities and made it easier to get around, which is not only important for Noah, but also his younger sister Ayla, who we don’t want to be disadvantaged or unnecessarily housebound.”
Additionally, the von Bergheim’s can now enlist additional family members to provide transport assistance, such as Noah’s grandparents who were unable to transport Noah before the family received their modified vehicle.
Gavin said his family were eternally grateful to the funding bodies that helped them.
“The funding Therapy Focus provided and helped us acquire, as well as the assistance and guidance throughout the process, has saved us months of further fundraising and has given our family back invaluable time. Our heartfelt thanks to everybody involved. You may never fully appreciate the magnitude of what you have helped us achieve – but we do every single day,” Gavin said.
Pictured: Noah has prime position in his family’s new wheelchair-modified van.