After a lifetime of challenges, Lee and her mum Anne know more than most about survival and resilience.
For decades Anne and Lee struggled to find the right supports for Lee’s needs, and only now feel they have found in Windermere Child & Family Services a provider that they can truly trust.
At just six years old Lee’s life literally changed overnight when she was left with a permanent acquired brain injury (ABI) due to surgical complications. The ABI meant she was paralysed on her left side and had to learn to speak again.
Before her surgery mum Anne describes Lee as “a typical little girl” who was happy and full of energy.
Lee, who needed constant support after her ABI, was determined to fully participate in her community. “She wanted to be the same as everyone else, she didn’t want to be different,” says Anne.
After a long 13 year medical malpractice case, Lee was finally awarded compensation which ensured she could be supported financially.
However, her family were soon faced with more heartbreak and challenges.
Sadly, when she was in her teens Lee’s father Garry passed away. Anne and Lee resisted recommendations for Lee to go into residential care after she graduated high school. Instead they built a purpose built unit for Lee so she could continue to live in her community and maintain her independence.
“Lee wanted to live her life. This included looking after children so we organised for her to assist with the day care at a local church,” says Anne.
Lee also got married and had two children. Unfortunately her marriage did not last and she was left to bring up her two children as a single mum.
She was brutally assaulted in her own home and sustained near fatal injuries. After being hospitalised for weeks she was left with permanent injuries. Sadly, this dramatically decreased her independence and she was no longer able to drive.
Lee, who was eligible for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support received a variety of care from various providers but unfortunately found the supports inadequate and unreliable. “I wasn’t happy at all. I would get ready to go out and then nobody would turn up to take me out,” she says.
After years of being unhappy with the care she was receiving Lee turned to Windermere’s NDIS support coordination services. “Everyone at Windermere was so polite and respectful, they actually listened to us,” says Anne.
Lee’s support coordinator worked with Lee to make the most of her NDIS plan by supporting her to coordinate and implement the NDIS supports she was eligible for.
This was a huge relief for retiree Anne as coordinating Lee’s care for decades had left her utterly exhausted. “I didn’t realise how the blood was being sucked out of me every day with everything being left up to me. It’s let me live my life again,” she says.
Windermere linked Lee in to a range of suitable and professional ongoing supports. These included assisting her to join a weekly social group, arranging a personal emergency alarm, daily meals, cleaners and home maintenance.
Windermere also assisted Lee in gaining the reports required for NDIA to recognise her Lymphedema as a disability. Once this was recognised, she was also linked to several vital therapies, including a physiotherapist and a Lymphedema specialist, as well as acquiring the AT Assistive technology equipment she needed. Incredibly, thanks to the lymphedema treatment and assistive technology equipment Lee is now able to move her left wrist.
Crucially, Lee also says she finally feels comfortable with her support coordinator, something over all the previous decades she has never previously felt.
Lee says she is grateful to her mum Anne who is “so caring and loving” and also to Windermere and her support coordinator “who are excellent.”