A special Starlight Wish that made a splash
Dane and his little brother Cooper love swimming. They adore being in the water and splashing about in the pool together. Dane's the type of kid who's super social and "has a go at everything." The family live right near the beach - you can just about hear the crashing of the waves. But sadly, despite living so close, getting to the beach is virtually impossible.
Dane has Quad Cerebral Palsy and requires a wheelchair for mobility. He was born two weeks premature and wasn't breathing at birth. "The main thing that sticks in my mind is how extremely ill he was from the first second he was born. We didn't know what was going to happen."
It was an agonising month before Sally and dad Grant could bring their little boy home. Doctors thought Dane may never even be able to smile.
Today, Dane is not just smiley and happy - he's fiercely determined. He laughs a lot and expresses emotion through movement and limited speech and absolutely adores his food! He loves music (the Wiggles are his fave!) and has his teachers wrapped under his finger and dotes on his school friends.
Dane and younger brother Cooper are really close and Cooper loves nothing more than making his brother laugh. Sally said Cooper's main aim in life is to make Dane smile.
Sadly, the boys are often apart as Dane has regular medical appointments. Sally says Dane's condition affects every part of him. He can’t sit up on his own, walk or hold onto things for more than a few seconds. "Medically, there's lot of things involved. He needs to get his hips x-rayed and checked regularly and he has a feeding tube in his tummy," she said.
Given how much the boys love the water, Sally and Grant built a wheelchair-accessible pool at home. When Dane was smaller Grant could physically carry Dane onto the sand but as he has grown, it’s no longer an option.
Cooper is always asking can we go to the beach, but we can't take one child and not the other. And we're often invited to go on day trips with friends but we don't go because everyone is going to the beach."Dane's Mum, Sally
To have access to the beach would mean the world to Dane. Sally recalls vividly seeing Dane's face light up watching TV and seeing a family at the beach. “He was pointing at his legs and pointing at the TV so I looked up and asked, "do you want to go to the beach?", and he gestured "yes." And in that moment, Dane's Starlight Wish was decided.
Dane's Starlight Wish brought him a custom-made beach wheelchair so he can enjoy the simple pleasure of a family trip to the beach. The new wheelchair will not only be a highlight for the family’s Christmas this year, but will have an amazing impact on his entire life moving forward.
Dane took his new wheelchair for a spin at the local beach on a hot summer's day in December, armed with his new beach toys and personalised beach towel. Surrounded by loved ones, Dane loved splashing about in the water and couldn’t wipe the smile off his face when he returned to shore.
Sally said they are completely overwhelmed by the generosity of Starlight's supporters. "I want to say a big thank you and how much it's going to change Dane's life and our family’s life. He will now be included in everyday activities that most people take for granted. He’ll be able to cool off in the summer's heat. We just want to be doing what other families do and this new custom wheelchair is going to help make that possible."
Dane is looking forward to many more bright summers ahead with his new wheelchair, including an upcoming birthday party with friends outdoors and a trip to the snow is also on the cards for next winter!
We are looking forward to a very different summer. We won't just be at home. We can now explore the beautiful area in which we live. I love our house but it'll be so nice to get outside as a family and socialise more.Dane's Mum, Sally
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