Hocking Christmas lights lead to new wheelchair

Hocking Christmas lights lead to new wheelchair

IT’S been a big year for Ross Carpenter.

The seven-year-old Butler boy lives with cerebral palsy and 2016 has proven a time of great physical improvement for the expat Scot.

As his mother Fiona Carpenter explained, regular therapy coupled with intense physio at Princess Margaret Hospital has shown positive signs in recent times.

“He is improving week by week, helped by his determination,” she said.

“He can now go from sit to stand on his own.”

Mrs Carpenter mentioned Ross’s case had been part of a therapy research study through the Ability Centre, which offers support for people with disabilities.

Such progress is significant for the primary schooler, given his family was told “not to expect much” when he was diagnosed with the most severe form of cerebral palsy – spastic quadriplegia – at age one.

But his condition has been reclassified from severe to moderate as he’s grown.

Last year, his tenacity inspired a community fundraiser, which aimed to buy him a new wheelchair.

Hocking mother Katie Russell organised the cash drive with a celebration on Verona Street, where residents lit up their homes with Christmas lights.

The effort raised more than $4000 for Ross, enough to pay for new splints and help with costs of a better wheelchair.

Ms Russell is a colleague of Mrs Carpenter who was “overwhelmed by the generosity”.

“With the extra money raised by Katie and funding from the Ability Centre we were able to get him a brand new wheelchair,” she said. “It is measured precisely for him and his needs and it is his favourite colour.

“He also tells me it’s really fast on the school oval.

“He will be using it for years to come.”

The success of Ross’s fundraiser has Verona Street this year focussing on a similar charity push for Perth Children’s Hospital on Monday.

Ms Russell said the money would go towards an ambulance specially equipped to handle the intensive care of newborns while on the road.

Verona Street Perth Childrens Hospital Fundraiser

Where: Verona Street, Hocking

When: December 19, 7.30pm to 9.30pm

What: Christmas light festivities, children’s characters and a visit from Santa.