PARKERVILLE resident Anita Gamba (56) has a new lease on life after becoming a National Disability Insurance Scheme participant more than a year ago.
A multiple sclerosis sufferer for almost three decades, Ms Gamba said her life had dramatically improved since she became involved in the Perth Hills trial.
“Before NDIS, I was sad, scared, isolated and lonely,” she said.
“My body and my life were atrophying and my future looked bleak.
“Enter NDIS/MSWA (Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA) and immediately my life exploded with possibilities and potential.”
A keen painter and writer and a former accountant and quantum physics teacher, Ms Gamba was diagnosed with MS in 1989.
There was little support in Australia at that time so in order to learn more about the newly identified disease, she gave up her job and moved to the US.
“America in 1990 was still pretty unknown territory for Australia, and I’ve got to tell you it was the biggest culture shock I’ve ever had,” she said.
The new-age community in the US taught her about holistic food, mindfulness and meditation, which she now teaches weekly in Perth.
Within five years, she found many symptoms – including loss of vision, difficulty speaking and impaired cognitive abilities – had dramatically improved and she was once again able to do daily tasks.
But after the effects of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, Ms Gamba eventually had to return to Perth.
“I landed on my mum’s back door and said ‘here I am’,” she said.
“I spent most of the first year in a foetal position on mum’s spare bed crying, but then I found the MS Society, and what a great organisation that is.”
Ms Gamba said the NDIS had given her the best freedom.
“The NDIS gives control, independence and the dignity of having your own finances again,” she said.
“Being able to choose my own carers, choose the functions, organisations and activities I want to be involved in is just priceless.”
Through the NDIS, Anita has been able to access support workers to maintain her independence, home modifications and a manual wheelchair.
A member of the Perth Hills NDIS Peer to Peer support network, Ms Gamba said she hoped to also work as an ambassador for the NDIS.
“The NDIS has given me the freedom and the independence to be able to explore and do the things really important to me.
“It enriches my life and allows me to maintain my sense of dignity,” she said.