COLLEEN Barrett’s customised car has given her and her family new found freedom.
Colleen, 21, has cerebral palsy and her family spent nine months last year raising money to go towards the purchase of a new $70,000 car that allows Colleen’s electric chair to be driven into the vehicle.
Colleen’s mother, Janelle Barrett, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Bombala community.
“I am speechless at how in such a short time the community came together and raised this sort of money,” she said.
“Everyone from businesses to families have been wonderful in giving more than they needed to so that we can have this car, it has been amazing.
“My husband would come home from work and tell me about people, farmers mostly, who would come in and give cash towards the car.
“We are forever thankful to everyone.”
Before the Barretts had the modified Kia Grand Carnival even a medical appointment would be a huge task.
Mrs Barrett would need someone to help her move Colleen in and out of their family station-wagon and Colleen would only be able to take a manual wheelchair, that her mother would then need to push.
Mrs Barrett said receiving the new car in March had changed their life as a family forever.
“It has changed our life dramatically,” Mrs Barrett said.
“Before, for Colleen to travel to Tulgeen in Bega, she would have to take a taxi, now I can drive her myself.
“We have an awesome time chatting and listening to music all the way there, three days a week, it’s wonderful.
“We even went and watched Wolumla’s first soccer game the other day and I didn’t need anyone’s help, it was just the two of us.
“We can go shopping and to medical appointments without needing to ask someone to come with us and Colleen can take her electric chair which means she can move around where she wants to when we are out,” she said.