WHEN Alex Taylor and Brooke Lee’s brother died, rather than commemorating his life with flowers at the funeral, they wanted to build a swing in his name that other wheelchair users could enjoy.
The Lee family lost Ben to pneumonia in August, with Ms Taylor describing it as coming “completely out of the blue”.
“It was all quite a surprise because he was OK up until that morning,” Ms Taylor said.
“He was quite sick – he was only 28kg and the doctors were fantastic, but over four or five days he progressively got worse and he unfortunately couldn’t fight it.”
Ms Taylor said Ben had cerebral palsy and spent most of his time at Ability Centre in Coolbinia, where about 30 people stay.
Since Ben died two months ago, Ms Lee and Ms Taylor have raised more than $12,000 of the $30,000 needed to install a wheelchair swing at the centre.
Ms Taylor said a wheelchair swing was on the Ability Centre’s “wish fund” and the centre had already raised more than $1000 since it started fundraising.
“Ability Centre would take him out to the swing,” she said.
“We knew he really liked going on it but the problem with Hyde Park is it’s quite a lot of hard work to get them all over there.”
The Lee family raffled off a signed Eagles guernsey for $2250 and have been selling chocolates and organising raffles, morning teas and sausage sizzles.
“I’ve applied for community grants – basically anything we can to raise the money,” Ms Lee said.
Ms Taylor said it would be the “finishing touch” to install a plaque with Ben’s name beside the swing.
“It’s just to make them all smile because having a life in a wheelchair can be so hard and something so simple just makes them happy or laugh or smile – it’s the least we should be doing,” she said.
“Ben loved it and all the other people we found there loved going on the swing; I guess it’s that little bit of freedom for them.
“I like to think that Ben’s not forgotten and he won’t be forgotten if people can use the swing.”
Visit www.gofundme.com/donateforben to donate.