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Garden renovation helps John find his feet

Published 4th July, 2016
Perth-based project management company, NS Projects, have installed a custom backyard for Balga teenager John Sturzaker, who has a complex seizure disorder known as West Syndrome.

John’s condition affects his ability to walk so he often crawls around the family home where space is too limited for his wheelchair. John’s Mum Elizabeth said that prior to the garden renovation the family’s backyard was “basically all loose dirt”, which meant that John would often miss out on spending time outdoors.

“It was really upsetting having to leave John inside playing with his toys because we didn’t want him to have to crawl through the dirt or get his wheelchair stuck,” Elizabeth said.

Over a weekend in June staff from NS Projects and Therapy Focus volunteered their time to install paving, synthetic grass, a shade sail, raised garden beds and a sensory wall in the family’s backyard. Most of the materials used in the renovation were generously donated by NS Projects and other organisations, including Georgiou and Phase 3.

John’s Therapy Focus Physiotherapist, Shannen Stanes said she had been working with John to improve his mobility when she recommended the family for the garden renovation, viewing it as an opportunity to increase his access and independence at home.

“John had been using a walker at school with great success, but there wasn’t enough room for him to continue practicing at home,” Shannen said.
“The large paved area in the newly renovated backyard will provide John with more opportunities to practice using a walker, which will really help his strength, coordination and give him an overall sense of independence.”

Senior Project Manager Tracy Mackay said the garden renovation not only provided NS Projects with an opportunity to assist financially, but also gave employees an opportunity to donate their time to and “get their hands dirty.”

“The renovation enabled us to draw on our unique skill set and express the care and professionalism we take in delivering all our projects. The exceptional team delivered such an incredible outcome for John and his family, and seeing him outside and able to access the backyard at the end of our work was fabulous.”

Elizabeth said that in addition to practicing walking, John can now also enjoy making music on the sensory wall, smelling the herbs and flowers in the garden and relaxing on the grass with his family.

“I’m so grateful to NS Projects and Therapy Focus. The transformation is amazing and will make such a difference in John’s life.”

NS Projects partners with Therapy Focus to provide financial assistance for projects or activities that are not eligible for regular Government or alternative funding assistance. Find out more about our Partners.

NS Projects and Therapy Focus staff in renovated garden

Pictured: John in his new backyard with his family, Therapy Focus and NS Projects staff. View more photos on our Facebook page.

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