Stephanie Kempster’s recent journey to complete the 20km Mother’s Day classic, marked a magic moment for her family.
Waved on by a sea of support lining the Warburton Trail and Mount Evelyn, the NDIS participant who lives with cerebral palsy, completed the race in a specialised wheelchair, alongside her mother, Kerry.
“To help with mental health, I took up running, and I found it could be something we could do together,” Kerry said.
“I thought the Mother’s Day Classic would be a valid goal for us. We went in with no expectations and had a ball; Steph loved it.
“Friends cheered us on, and my husband rode along on a bike beside us.
Steph also has her name on the side of the chair which gave her great joy when people were calling her name and cheering, so we’re really pleased with how it all turned out.”
Stephanie is non-verbal, has developmental delay and lives with an intellectual disability, but according to Kerry, Stephanie is a social butterfly who lights up when surrounded by friends and family.
Stephanie is also improving her social interaction at school, through an affinity for dance, shared with sister, Ashleigh.
“The girls adore each other and Ashleigh is a dancer and always plays music, which Steph loves, Kerry said.
“We have a friend who set up a dance school for kids with disability, and Steph does a class on Monday afternoons.
She waves pom poms around and the movement is great for her.”
While the family home was purpose built to cater for Stephanie’s needs, accessing the NDIS has allowed Stephanie to engage further supports.
“Steph has a PODD Communication book for school, she recently got a new wheelchair, and she has a Hi Lo adjustable bed,” Kerry said.
Another element for Stephanie’s increasing capacity is a new car, which Kerry said was modified through support from the NDIS.
“It now has an electric docking station with easy access, and power doors… it’s just made a world of difference,” Kerry said.
“Steph, being a social child, is able to sit up in the second row of seats, and we are able to turn around and talk to her.
“In the old car, she had to sit in the boot, so we couldn’t engage, and it was manual entry, labour intensive and hard work, so, we didn’t go anywhere as it was just too hard.
“But with the new car and modifications, it’s a lot safer and easier, and Steph now has a carer come and take her out for the day once a week.
“Having Stephanie happy, safe and engaged is all we ask for, and having the support of the NDIS has made life so much easier.”