Wednesday, September 23, 2015

TrailRiding by the Murray River with brain cancer

This came to me from Bacchus Marsh where one of the Shire-based TrailRiders lives. Kate Norman wrote this after "hiring" (quotation marks because it's free!) the TrailRider there and taking her Dad to the Murray. My heart sings when I hear stories like this.

Thank you to the Moorabool Shire Council for providing our family the opportunity to make the most of a very important and lovely weekend on the Murray River. Without the use of the all-terrain TrailRider wheelchair, we wouldn’t have been able to do half of the things we wanted to.

Family shot, complete with champagne, beside the Murray
My family and I grew up spending most of our holidays camping by the Murray River. We have so many fond memories unwinding by the river, relaxing in our camping chairs on the sandy beaches, playing cards, cooking on the open fire and watching Dad attempt to catch fish. We recently organised a weekend by the Murray River, only this time we stayed at a caravan park, Time Out Holiday Park in Tocumwal. This trip was a bit different as my Dad is no longer able to camp in a tent. This is because my amazingly strong Dad was diagnosed with a Grade IV Glioblastoma brain tumour in April 2014. Since then there have been many challenges which have led to him being permanently in a wheelchair and needing my mum to become his full time carer. She is an absolute inspiration!

Brain cancer is an awful disease which kills more children than any other disease. Survival rates are low and have hardly changed for 30 years, despite significant increases in survival for Australians diagnosed with other types of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. Treatment is challenging because it affects our most vital organ. Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer, yet only receives a small fraction (< 5%) of federal government cancer research funding. Please show your support and make a donation, small or large, by visiting the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation website (curebraincancer.org.au/donations).

A two-sherpa trail
When organising this weekend away, I had several concerns about how to make it more enjoyable for my Dad and an experience closer to what he used to get. A standard wheelchair would not be able to be pushed over rough terrain or sandy beaches. Then I discovered the TrailRider that can be hired from most shires/councils for up to 7 days at a time and it’s FREE, I was over the moon! It’s places like Time Out Holiday Park and Moorabool Shire Council as well as the people involved who make this extremely challenging journey that little bit easier. Having access to the all-terrain TrailRider wheelchair meant that we were able to experience some of the things we wouldn’t have been able to, like taking a stroll on the dirt track through the tranquil Australian bush, spot some lazy koalas & bouncing kangaroos and get up close to the Murray River soaking up the beautiful serenity.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to the Moorabool Shire Council for helping make our family weekend away a memorable and enjoyable one. I would definitely use the TrailRider again!

Written By: Kate Norman

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