Busselton resident Kate Wilson needs help to regain her independence

Senses Australia occupational therapist Callum Johnson and Busselton resident Kate Wilson are hoping to raise $20,000 to buy Kate a vehicle so she can gain her independence back.
Senses Australia occupational therapist Callum Johnson and Busselton resident Kate Wilson are hoping to raise $20,000 to buy Kate a vehicle so she can gain her independence back.

Life for 39-year old Busselton mum Kate Wilson has been tough, she has slowly lost her independence due to a degenerative condition called Friedrich's ataxia.

Ms Wilson was diagnosed when she was 17 years old, by the time she was 19, Ms Wilson was using a wheelchair.

The rare condition gradually attacks the nervous system and leads to a loss of coordination affecting strength, balance and all muscles including speech.

Up until 18 months ago, Ms Wilson could drive her old station wagon around, but unfortunately her car is no longer fit-for-purpose and she would like nothing more than to go and watch her son play sport on the weekends.

"I could get in the driver's seat, drive the car, pick up my son and drive around town to go where ever we wanted to with my manual wheelchair in the back," she said.

"My condition has now progressed to the point where I cannot get into the driver's seat, it is now too tricky, so I had to rely on getting in the passengers seat and be driven around.

"Now I am at the point where that is really difficult and not that safe and I have run out of most options to get around other than taxis."

Ms Wilson has to rely on taxis to make doctors appointments in Bunbury and Perth, an expense she could do without.

"That is not really sustainable," she said.

Disability service providers in the region do not have a fleet of vans which are easily accessible, and the staff do not have access to a vehicle which they could use to take Ms Wilson to the shops.

To get a car Ms Wilson could drive herself would cost around $120,000, or to buy a car her friends and carers could drive her around in would cost $20,000.

Senses Australia occupational therapist Callum Johnson said they were being a bit more realistic and hoped to fund raise enough money to buy a van which Kate's friends or carers could drive to take her places.

"Kate can actually drive and had a driver's licence, in an ideal world Kate would have a vehicle she could drive herself," he said.

"We thought raising $20,000 was a lot more optimistic rather than trying to raise $120,000.

"At the very least there would be a van sitting there and a friend of Kate's or a support worker could take Kate and her son to sport, or Bunbury, or to a massage or wherever on a whim.

"The only way we can get this money is through fundraising."

Mr Johnson said the National Disability Insurance Scheme only provided funding for vehicle modifications.

"People in Kate's position who live on a support pension do not have an income and do no have the ability to get a loan from a bank for $20,000," he said.

"They are entirely dependent on family, friends and carers. It is a bit of a lousy situation.

"Part of this is just not about Kate, it is about her son as well, so he can have more freedom and a few more options."

A GoFundMe page has been setup to help Ms Wilson raise money to buy a vehicle. To help Ms Wilson get on her way please visit gofundme.com/help-fund-a-wheelchair-accessible-vehicle-for-kate.