A FRIENDSHIP forged through hardship is the driving force behind a seven-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer’s plan to walk Dean Street.
Albury’s Mya Irving is hoping people will sponsor the eight-block walk next month in a bid to raise the $35,000 needed to modify a car to take an electric wheelchair for her friend Rajah Sutherland, 5.
Rajah suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that weakens the spine and muscles and forces her to rely on a wheelchair.
The pair met through a disability support service and hydrotherapy.
Without the modified car her Jindera mother Ellen Sutherland is largely housebound.
“There is absolutely no government money available in NSW to help pay for the cost,” Ms Sutherland said.
“And it is not like you can modify a second-hand car, most people have to pay for a $50,000 car that suits the necessary modifications and then the $35,000 on top of that.
“We were planning several fund-raisers and then Mya made this extraordinary gesture.
“I’m just blown away by this, it is just a beautiful and moving offer.
“She is effectively kicking off the fund-raising for us — how incredible.”
Ms Sutherland says they would be happy with their $10,000 Commodore forever but it is no longer practical.
“Sadly, and we are not the only ones in this boat, it has been forced upon us,” she said.
“And without the support of people like the Irvings and Cooinda it would be beyond most people to afford this at all.”
Mya’s mum, Ally, says her daughter’s determination will get her a long way down Dean Street.
“It is a huge effort for her to walk, even with the aid of the walker,” she said.
“But one day, when she realised that Rajah needed the same thing she has with our car, she came up with the idea.
“If anyone with this condition is going to do this, Mya will.
“She can walk short distances with the walker but she relies on an electric wheelchair for any great distance, fatigue is such a big factor and part of the reason we have broken the sponsorship into the number of blocks she walks.”
Mrs Irving says they are acutely aware of the difficulties of life without a wheelchair-accessible car.
“For 2? years we were stuck at home, I could not lift Mya into the car, she was just too heavy,” she said.
Mya will start her fund-raising walk at 10am on April 9 at the coffee van end of Dean Street.