By GWEN HARPER*
WE’D like to introduce Brighton resident Veronika Davie. In many ways she’s a regular 10-year-old. Veronika attends a main stream school, she loves her two big brothers Jordan and Jakob, loves bowling, TV dance shows, music, horse-riding, ParkRun, her iPad and especially her mum Kylee and dad Marcus.
But Veronika was unlucky in the womb. She had bilateral strokes in utero, the size of which would kill an adult. She wasn’t expected to survive her birth, but against the odds she did. Diagnosed with a heart defect, Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) and cerebral palsy, Veronika wasn’t ever supposed to walk. Against the odds, she walked into kindergarten on her first day of school supported by her trusty walking frame
Veronika has had 12 operations so far, and a heavy schedule of physio, hydrotherapy and occupational therapy exercises just to develop her muscle tone to do things we take for granted, like sitting, standing and holding a cup.
Veronika’s disabilities also make it hard for her to use AUSLAN sign language, so she’s developed her own. Veronika began having seizures when she was four-years-old, which affect many of her hard-earned physical skills, so she learns them again. Veronika, like her mum, doesn’t give up.
Kylee Davie is one of the most amazing people you could ever meet. She holds down two part-time jobs, one as a Teacher’s Aide and another with TasCare Society for Children, currently working on a project to support siblings of children with disabilities. Kylee has also studied qualifications in education support and individual support – disability, has lobbied the NDIS, plus represented Tasmania as part of a Ministerial Taskforce on Education of Students with Disabilities.
Kylee is a ‘doer’ – she wants the best for her children and for Veronika to have the best quality of life possible. She’s also very practical and seeks help when she needs it. Kylee approached the Lions Club of Brighton with a very real problem. Veronika is getting bigger, and although Veronika can walk short distances, she relies on her wheelchair. It’s getting risky for Kylee to continue lifting Veronika in and out of their car, as Veronika doesn’t have the functional ability to get in or out of the car herself.
The NDIS will hopefully pay for a van modification, but not for a van, and the modification must be made on a van less than three years old.
That’s where Brighton Lions comes into the frame. It’s time to get on our fundraising hats. We will be holding a quiz night to help raise funds towards buying a wheelchair-accessible van for Veronika. Thanks to Brighton Council for donating the Brighton Civic Centre as our venue, the quiz night will be held at 7pm on Saturday, July 28. The quiz night is for all ages, and there will be multiple prizes given away on the night. Tickets are $20 each, or $200 for a table of 10.
Please get together some family, some friends, some neighbours, or even some work colleagues and have fun while we help Veronika beat the odds yet again. Visit our event listing on our Facebook page Lions Club of Brighton Inc to review the event details and purchase tickets.
If you want to follow Veronika’s amazing journey, Kylee has a Facebook page @veronikawillwalk.
*Gwen Harper is president of Brighton Lions