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Shamira the Adventurer finds her Wheels

in Latest News, Stories of Independence

For young Shamira getting the chance to go on camps, engage in play time, chat to other kids and head out on adventures, is life-changing. A VisAbility client from when she was just a few months old, Shamira is a determined teenager who won’t give up. Shamira lives with vision and hearing impairment, and spinocerebellar ataxia.

Camping is an important family activity for the Martinez family and due to Shamira’s changing mobility needs; keeping up to speed with her siblings and friends has become increasingly challenging. When the opportunity to apply for funding for a Polaris (a 4-wheeled buggy) came up earlier this year, her family were ecstatic. The Polaris would assist Shamira in getting around and help conserve her energy for more important things. Shamira’s Occupational Therapist worked closely with her parents to identify suitable grants and apply for funding. In August, Shamira received a Community Living and Participation Grant run by the National Disability Services, which meant Shamira could finally receive the Polaris.

Shamira riding in the Polaris (wearing purple) while she explores off road. Children on camp play around her.

Shamira and her mother, Desiree headed to the Youth Camp (Pathfinders) to put the Polaris to the test and were thrilled at the results. “We went camping on a property with plenty of grass, rocks and streams. We could get Shamira to every activity on time and effortlessly. And the best thing was Shamira then had the energy to properly participate, the Polaris made it possible.”

A portrait photograph of Teenager Shamira

While before the Polaris, Shamira would often struggle to travel long distances, and it was often hard to have her included in all activities. Often she would rely on Desiree to help her interact with other kids. Desiree is so happy this has now changed with the arrival of the Polaris. “The Polaris has affected the inclusion of Shamira in ways we had not even imagined. The adults are more than happy to help me get Shamira to activities and areas, and the Polaris creates interest and a talking point with the other kids. We are so appreciative that the CPLG funds have helped Shamira lead a more normal childhood. We look forward to helping Shamira have many more experiences and exposure to these enriching little adventures!” – Desiree

Tess, Shamira’s former VisAbility Occupational Therapist spoke fondly of the go-getting Shamira and was excited about the opportunities the Polaris would bring her. “Shamira is one of the most determined young individuals I have met and had the pleasure of working with this year. Her strength and humour are no doubt admired by everyone that meets her. No challenge is too great for Shamira and she will tackle anything that comes her way. This all-terrain vehicle assists Shamira to participate in meaningful activities within the community, such as camping with her family, youth group and friends. Shamira is able to be surrounded by family and friends whilst travelling in the vehicle, whilst allowing her to conserve energy needed for other activities throughout her day.”

If you would like more information on the life-changing services available at VisAbility, please contact us on 1800 847 466 or visit our Services Tab here on our website.