C’mon Orange, let’s dig deep for Matthew!
Our community again has an opportunity to do something really good.
Matthew Farrelly has extreme kyphoscoliosis of his upper thoracic. This makes mobility such as walking, extremely difficult. Unaided, Matthew cannot walk or stand on his own. Without walking, Matthew’s condition can significantly decline. His walking apparatus at present is a modified walker designed for the elderly and not for his specific condition.
Matthew is assisted by his Mother, Wendy and a carer each day, he is non-verbal and relies upon them to watch and to learn his cue and techniques for communicating.
With no formal or informal support to assist himself or his family, apart from NDIS funding his program, the Farrelly family are turning to the community for some support. Matthew is in need of a new walker and Tricycle, as health professionals acknowledge the walker and bike he has now, neither are suitable. The family have located a walker and the tricycle which are designed specifically for conditions like Matthew’s, though they come with a hefty price tag. The cost of a Buddy Roamer walking aid is $9,002.00 and the Tricycle is 5,617.00 overall, $14,619.00.
Wendy explained, “His current walker is not giving him the support he requires and will eventually cause subluxation (dislocation) of his shoulder joint. It is also a risk of Matthew falling backwards from the walker due to not being harnessed to it. The current walker is also too high for him and creates a barrier in front of him which is an obstacle in itself.”
To aid Matthews independence and ability to walk freely and without cause of permanent body damage, on the new walker a harness wraps around Matthew’s waist so there is no pressure on his shoulders and no fear of him jolting or jerking back and falling off. (Which he has done on his current walker.)
“It is such a wonderful design allowing Matthew a near normal walking experience with no cage, or frame work in front of him, he can really explore his community better like the park and the lake. When you don’t have the right equipment it’s very hard caring for him, for his carers too, they have an extra job because they have to keep him from damaging himself on the walker and keep him upright and walking.”
Matthew’s Carer of nine years, Mandy Matters added, “He loved the new walker as much as he loved the bike, he actually started walking and that’s a big thing he doesn’t ever volunteer walking.. he was in a position where he just went, and we videoed it, just saying wow.. look at him go!”
“When he tried the bike, I wasn’t sure what would happen, he got on and we couldn’t believe it, he took off, I thought he might have forgotten to ride a bike, but he certainly hasn’t! It was quite amazing actually,” Wendy said.
Keeping Matthew at optimum health and wellbeing, during most weeks he participates in swimming, art and music. He seems to have a real talent for painting in particular, the Farrelly household is decorated with Matthew’s finished pieces and they are amazing! “He loves doing art, he really interacts. I think it’s because he can really express himself with his art, because he can’t speak.”
“I know lives are difficult, just a little bit of help, would be a big help for us. The community are quite welcome to meet Matthew and when we get the bike and walker to come and watch him and see how he goes because we are very grateful for any help that we get. The Inner Wheel Club gave us a substantial donation which started the ball rolling, which we really appreciate it.”
“He’s such a community minded fellow, he mightn’t talk but he will reach out his hand to people and people get really touched by him, just his quiet kind nature. It’s nice to have this community involvement in raising something for him because it just brings us all together, and he appreciates it,” said Mandy.
If you would like to help Matthew and the Farrelly family, please contact Wendy directly on 0429 624 967.
If you would like to keep up with Matthew’s progress find him at ‘Matthew Farrelly’ on Facebook.