A Day at the Beach

LiveBetter helping to make dreams come true!
2nd June 2023

LiveBetter customer Jenny Fitzgerald lives for adventure. It had been years since she’d spent a day at the beach, and she wanted to get her feet wet. In fact, Jenny wanted the full beach experience and Kim Duffy, her support worker, was determined to make it happen.

“This is not as simple as it sounds,” said Kim, “ Jenny has limited mobility and is dependent on a wheelchair to get about – and a regular wheelchair is not going to work down on the sand.”

Not to be defeated Kim went in search of a suitable mobility option, something that was both practical and safe; something that would enable Jenny to get as close to the water as possible.

After doing some research Jenny knew what she needed: the 4WD of wheelchairs – the All-Terrain Beach Wheelchair. But where was she going to find one?

After discussing the situation with her colleagues, Kim decided to contact the Emu Park Beach Surf Lifesaving club to see if they could help – and it turned out they could.

Kim was directed to the Honey Bee Collective, the café at Emu Park Beach. Upon enquiring, they said yes – there was a beach wheelchair that could be used, but there was a catch. The weather, the tide and the booking availability would all need to align before Jenny’s wish could come true.

Things were looking up and Jenny began to think this really would happen. Each week Kim would check at the café to see if this would be the week her plans would come to fruition, and each week she was told no…until the week arrived when it seems the stars aligned, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place, and the answer was yes. Yes, it was available and yes, the tide was right and yes, they could use it today.

Finally, Jenny was going to the beach!

It was a gorgeous day, the sun shone brightly, and the ocean was calm and very blue. Jenny was wheeled down onto the sand, right up close to the water, but what she really wanted was to get her feet wet. Kim gave it some thought. They didn’t have the manpower to safely support Jenny to stand with her feet in the ocean, but Kim wanted her to have the ‘full’ beach experience and that included getting her feet wet.

All it took was a bucket. Kim filled it with seawater and gently poured it over Jenny’s feet – all while Jenny sat back in the safety and comfort of the Beach Wheelchair.

The Mission was accomplished.

Jenny was delighted and Kim was relieved that everything went to plan.

“Jenny hadn’t been to the beach in a long time,” she said. “Not since she was a kid.”

“I wanted to make it really special.”

“She was happy and giggling – so full of joy as we splashed on the edge of the waves. But you know…I feel that I had as much fun as she did …”

When Jenny had had enough of the sea and sand, Kim wheeled her back up the beach to the Honey Bee Collective where they sat peacefully together and enjoyed a cool drink…and began making plans for their next big adventure.

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