Willetton woman who woke from coma totally blind wants to help others with all-ability access holiday home

Evette Wilson with mother Linda and dog Stanlee. Picture: Matt Jelonek  d463948
Evette Wilson with mother Linda and dog Stanlee. Picture: Matt Jelonek  d463948

ALMOST four years after waking up with total blindness, Evette Wilson is ready to help others.

It has been a long journey of adjustment for the Willetton resident, who was 30 years old when she woke from a five-day coma at Royal Perth Hospital unable to walk or see.

Now, with a block of land and a dream to build an all-ability access holiday home, she hopes the community can help her achieve her dream.

Ms Wilson’s remembers going to sleep in 2013 with a stomach bug.

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“I was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital and was in a coma on life support for five days, and I woke up with no vision and I couldn’t walk,” she said.

“I’d had tubes in my mouth, my arteries, my lungs, my stomach … they had no idea about the extent of what was wrong with me.

“Once I spoke to the doctors and told them I couldn’t see, they put drops in and said my sight would return in 45 minutes, but it never did.”

Later, Ms Wilson found out she was one of three people in the world to develop acute anterior ischemic diabetic optic neuropathy.

“My diabetes had nothing to do with losing my sight; it was my blood pressure,” she said.

Ms Wilson developed post-traumatic stress disorder and her brain went into shock for not being able to see and developed Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which causes hallucinations.

“It was like Jumanji, there was just chaos and I still get it now,” she said.

A month later she returned home, able to walk and at the start of a journey of adjustment.

“I may have got out of bed a few times but I was bed-ridden and sleeping because I didn’t have to face reality when I was asleep,” Ms Wilson said.

She begged her mother Linda to leave her to sleep “because she could see when she was asleep”.

But one day she got up, eventually changing out of her pyjamas and soon becoming active within the community.

“In 2014 and 2015 it was about community and using services offered to me,” Ms Wilson said.

“Last year I became more involved, people wanted my opinion and I worked with Visability, getting my confidence back.

“But now I want to do something for others.”

Ms Wilson said a spur-of-moment purchase of a block in Jurien Bay sparked a drive to build an accessible home for people with special needs.

She was inspired after being encouraged into respite care when her mother wanted to go on a holiday.

“Families with special needs members are referred to respite if they want a holiday, but families want to make memories with their children and this would give them that option,” she said.

“I am just at the beginning but I started Go Fund Me with the hope of the community getting behind it.”

Ms Wilson said she would engage an accountant and bookkeeper and would donate any additional project funds to charity.

“If we don’t get there through Go Fund Me, the money will go to charity,” she said. “This isn’t about me, it’s about giving people who have other needs and requirements the safety net of being able to travel somewhere that caters just for them.”

To donate or learn more about the project go to www.gofundme.com/help-me-to-help-the-disabled.