Mary's Story

There’s something about Mary

Her physiotherapist recommended an adjustable chair for Mary, so she could sit at the table with her family. Variety approved the grant application, enabling the seven-year-old to join in the chaos that a family dinner can be.

Mary lives in Sydney with her parents and younger sister, who also has a disability. Both girls need constant supervision for play, mealtimes, dressing and self-care tasks. It’s not easy, Charlie admits.

Mary, who is non-verbal, attends a specialist school near her family home. She uses a wheelchair at school, which she can bring home during school holidays.

School transportation had been considered for Mary, but her morning routine takes time, and her parents didn’t want her to feel rushed.

So, her parents drive her to school each day, and she loves it.

“The stimulation of school has been so good for Mary, she’s thriving there. She’s got great teachers and looks forward to going each day.”

So much so, that in the holidays, her parents can tell that Mary misses her school friends. “She is a happy and engaging young girl,” Charlie says.

Mealtimes at the table

Eating a meal together at the table had been a goal for the family for years, but specialist equipment can be so expensive, Charlie explains.

A height-adjustable chair would make all the difference, but it was expensive.

“Her wheelchair is fitted with a small tray, but because it’s so small, it’s too low for us to feed her at the table. She was missing out on meal times with her family,” he explains.

With a push from Mary’s medical specialists, Charlie decided to apply for a grant with Variety to purchase the much needed adjustable chair that would enable Mary to eat at the table with her family.

His application was approved, and he was able to purchase the adjustable chair for Mary, valued at $8,205.

The purchase has completely changed mealtimes in the family home.

“Mary uses her adjustable chair all day when she’s at home. It’s on wheels, so we can even take her outside in it, which she loves. This chair also provides much better support for her back, which is so important for her.”

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