IT was with reluctance that Mandurah mother of three Jo Browning allowed her friend to organise a Go Fund Me account.
The account would allow Jo to buy and modify a van to transport her son Tom (12), who has disabilities and uses a wheelchair.
“There is only a certain amount you can get funding for and that just covers the basics,” Jo said.
“We haven’t had many problems; it’s only lately that it’s been difficult.”
Jo said it was difficult for people in similar situations to get the assistance they need.
“Especially as their children grow into young adults,” she said.
“It is completely overwhelming for parents at the best of times to plan for the future, let alone having to potentially foresee issues that haven’t yet arisen for those with disabilities.
“Families shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get assistance for a situation that is pretty self-evident.”
Jo said the bureaucracy and red tape makes things particularly difficult.
“Thomas is currently in need of a new wheelchair and walking frame and the paperwork needed to be completed by the therapists and appointments we’ve had to attend to trial equipment have been insane,” she said.
“Just to justify the need and the appropriateness of the equipment required.”
She is incredibly grateful to the charities that have helped Jo teared up when she spoke of her son Tom.
“He has good days and bad days,” she said.
“Tom goes to Malibu school in Safety Bay by bus, but I have to pick him up for appointments or if he has seizures.”
Tom is getting bigger, which is part of the need for the new van. Carers are not allowed to lift him, so they are limited to walking him in his wheelchair.
The chair is heavy and hard for Jo to get in and out of her car. She has tried getting jobs to help buy a van, but it’s hard for a parent of three boys to find work.
Tom’s brother Angus is autistic.
Jo’s friend Kerrie, who organised the fundraiser, described her friend as “humble and unassuming” who considers herself unworthy of a Go Fund Me page.
“Not once have any of us heard her moan about her day, the challenges that she faces on a daily basis, the logistical nightmares that are always present when planning an outing/excursion/weekend away/school holidays,” Kerrie wrote.
“She truly is an amazing woman.
“She has exhausted all the usual and normal avenues of trying to obtain funding and help in purchasing a modified vehicle that will suit her family’s needs but for one reason or another, she falls just short of the criteria.” Jo will be approaching more charities for assistance in the weeks to come. To help visit Go Fund Me.