Father: One day I was sitting there, and Rebecca had her gumboots on and she said “I can real good now dad, I’ll show you”
So she ran about a “k” and a half down to the front gate of their place and turned around and ran all the way back in the gumboots, she looked like Cliffy Young. And she got back and I said “mum, come and look at this Rebecca can run to the gate and back, you better show mum. So away she went again, so she ran about two and half ‘k’s. She was very funny, and firstly everything was going along very smoothly until, Rebecca had her…
Father: Seizure in January of 2005.
Mother: She went to bed on January the 10th 2005, probably, she used to take herself off to bed when she got tired. And that was fine, and we went in and checked on her at around 11 o’clock and she was sound asleep. During the night Rebecca suffered a seizure. Now the seizure we don’t know what time it started but the seizure never stopped. So she was fitting for, they said it could have been up to 5 or 6 hours, they weren’t sure. But when we found her the next morning still fitting it had done irreparable damage.
Father: We went from having an active little girl one day to severely brain damaged the next. We spent some nine months in Canberra hospital with Rebecca. She went from being in the ICU having a lot of problems still with epileptic fits and things like that. They put her on several different drugs and she become the fifteenth person in the world known to be allergic to tegratole. It burnt her from the inside out. The biggest thing from that it gave her liver failure. Virtually they said, you better say goodbye, Rebecca won’t survive the night, she needs a liver transplant, she can’t have a liver transplant cause she’s got brain damage. There is nothing we can do.
So they gave her a whole heap of steroids and day and half, two days later the liver started to come back. We spent everyday at the hospital with Rebecca, for that whole 9 months she didn’t leave our side.
Mother: When we spoke to her she didn’t look at us, there was just nothing there. We were doing everything that we possibly could to try and stimulate. And this one particular day we were both there giving her a bed bath, and Chris decided to blow a raspberry on her belly and we got a little chuckle. When we called out to all of the doctors and nurses they all came running and thinking something wrong. And they were all around the bed and Chris did it again, well there were tears. It was such an emotional event, and it was a turning point.
Father: It was a slow trip, we didn’t have much to start with Rebecca, she would just lay there. There were no responses what so ever. And then over a period of time, little bits come back, little bits come back. Where as where we are today she knows exactly what’s happening around her.
Mother: When you leave school you have all of the agencies come in and they tell you what they have to offer and that sort of thing. And I will never forget Ally saying, don’t tell us when you’re coming just turn up. And it just kind of stayed with us. We went to Centacare and we were welcomed with open arms. We had no appointment, no nothing and we just rocked in, and it was like, oh old friends, it was just really good. We walked in and everbody was just, it had a buzz about it.
Julie: I was a parent of my son had cerebral palsy, and he came to this centre for 10 years. He passed away 5 years ago and I just wanted to become a support worker and give back to the parents and to the clients because I know exactly what the parents go through and it was just very special.
Theresa: We have a lot of staff who may have children with disabilities or had children or family members with disabilities. Julie was a prime example. Julie was the mom has son, adult son with very very high support needs, probably similar to Bec. He was a beautiful young man, a beautiful young man and sadly he passed away several years ago. And that point Julie came to see me and said, I think I want to work in this industry.
Mother: She’s more like a family friend looking after Rebecca and having gone through a tragedy the love that she has, it’s like Bec has a second mum.
Father: It’s one big family, Centacare is like one big family. And it feels that way, and it is made to feel that way by the way they treat you in a way that everyone is.
Theresa: We didn’t actually have a vehicle with a wheelchair, we weren’t able to take them out into the community. There were times we would use the wheelchair taxi but given the expense and the limitations on how far you could go and cost. Bec was pretty limited to just sticking around town. There’s about 4 or 5 wheelchairs up there now and to have wheelchair bus would benefit them so much. And going out to with the others, for travel, going down to the beach or movies or anything like that.
Theresa: So we put together a funding proposal, but it was knocked back.
Mum: I wrote a letter to the boss of Centacare, to Tony. Wrote him a letter just explaining our wishes, that we would really love for Rebecca to get out more. He responded, I dropped the letter off in the morning Tony had rang in the afternoon, to say that they have spoken with Toyota and they were getting a wheelchair bus and it was getting ordered. And we now have a wheelchair bus, which takes 2 wheelchairs. So I can’t rave over them enough, their response to a need of a parent for their child was just instantaneous, it was just beautiful. And so she can join in, it was great. It just makes her part of the community and that’s all we wanted. She got her quality of life now. She’s got a purpose, she’s got her friends, she’s got activities that she does and not only family but close friends and carers their not just carers there more friends and family then carers with her now, life’s pretty good.
Father: Things have gone really really smoothly at the moment and Centacare has made that possible for us.