WHAT began as one little girl’s dream to help her friend gain her independence yesterday had its sequel when Rajah Sutherland and her family took delivery of a new car.
Rajah, 6, has spinal muscular atrophy, which means she can’t walk and requires a wheelchair to get around.
The Walk for Wheels for Rajah project began earlier this year when Albury’s Mya Irving, 8, who has cerebral palsy, asked why Rajah wasn’t able to get in and out of her parents’ vehicle in her wheelchair, in the same way she was able to.
In April, Mya walked the 1.2 kilometre-length of Dean Street to kick off the fund-raising for the money to buy and modify a car to take a wheelchair.
In the months since, she has raised $40,000 for the car and its modification costs.
Yesterday Mya’s dream became a reality when McRae Kia at Wodonga handed over a Kia Carnival to Rajah and her family, with plans for its modification within the next couple of months.
Sales manager Rob Meyer said the new Carnival had been provided by Kia International, with McRae Kia providing full scheduled servicing of the car over the next five years to give Rajah’s family “total peace of mind”.
Rajah’s mother, Ellen Sutherland, said previously it had been difficult for her and partner, Tom Lenaghan, to both leave the house with Rajah and their infant son Jett, 1.
It was also impossible to take Rajah’s electric wheelchair to school at Jindera.
“I am a bit lost for words,” Ms Sutherland said.
“This will be easier on both our backs and it will provide independence for Rajah.
“It was all Mya’s idea, she wanted Rajah to have what she had.
“We are extremely grateful and hopefully the fund-raising efforts can be continued for someone else.”
While a smiling Mya shyly celebrated yesterday with Rajah, who was on a brief spell out of hospital where she is being treated for a respiratory illness, she told her mother Ally Irving she was “just so happy” for her friend.