Verona Street, Hocking house light’s up for Ross

Katie Russell and Fiona Carpenter with her son Ross (6). Picture: Martin Kennealey d4470171
Katie Russell and Fiona Carpenter with her son Ross (6). Picture: Martin Kennealey d4470171

A HOCKING house is lighting up to help a “little trooper” from Scotland this festive season.

Katie Russell and her family have decorated their Verona Street home for Christmas and decided to collect donations to help a colleague cover her son’s medical costs.

Mrs Russell works at the City of Wanneroo with Fiona Carpenter, whose son Ross (6) needs physiotherapy sessions to improve his mobility.

They moved to Perth from Scotland almost two years ago with husband Paul and brothers Adam (10) and Logan (3).

“The thing that’s really good for him is the sunshine,” the Butler resident said.

“Back home, he doesn’t have as much opportunity to get out as he does here. He has a trike and he has been on it more here than he ever was back home.”

Ross was born 12 weeks premature and spent the first few weeks of his life in hospital, where he had a severe brain bleed.

His initial diagnosis of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, aged one, was severe but Mrs Carpenter said that had been downgraded more recently to moderate.

“They told us at the outset that they didn’t really expect much but he has exceeded expectations,” she said.

“He is just a little trooper.”

Mrs Carpenter said her son attended physiotherapy sessions at the Ability Centre in Currambine, but the family’s visa sub-class excluded them from Medicare support.

“We don’t qualify for any of the physio benefits; we pay for everything ourselves,” she said.

The customer relations officer said she and her husband – a tiler and stonemason – both worked full-time to cover the costs.

Last year, a Tapping family collected donations for them from people stopping by to see their Christmas lights.

“We managed to get his wheelchair serviced,” Mrs Carpenter said.

“Everyone is so generous really; it’s so humbling.”

There will be a fundraising event on Verona Street this Friday with the Christmas light display dedicated to Ross and entertainment by dancers, carollers, mascots and Santa.

Money raised will go towards buying him a new pair of splints. Excess funds will go to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

Verona Lights for Ross

What: family fundraiser

Where: 26 Verona Street, Hocking

When: Friday, December 11 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm

More: #VeronaLights4Ross on Facebook or Instagram

The lights will also be on from 7.15pm to 10pm daily until Christmas.