Kindness of Strangers Buoys a Family Caring for Their Terminally Ill 6-year-old Girl

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Kindness of Strangers Buoys a Family Caring for Their Terminally Ill 6-year-old Girl

A saga in Australia’s news media has come to a head in the best possible way, as a struggling family and their terminally ill 6-year-old daughter are being moved into special housing ’round the clock care.

ABC News Down Under originally broke the story on June 23rd that 6-year-old Audrey Wallace, who was born with treatment resistant epilepsy, had entered palliative care after a bout of pneumonia saw her condition weaken considerably to the point where she could no longer swallow food or control well her left side.

The doctors aren’t sure how long she has left, but father Justin and mother Ashlee are determined to make the most of it—with a visit to the zoo, or at least a unicorn fairy princess party at home.

Entitled to financial support and assistance in adding accommodations for Audrey’s medical requirements from Australia’s National Disability Insurance Agency, (NDIA) the family’s care team ran straight into a slow “reactive” bureaucracy.

Their duplex apartment wasn’t wheelchair accessible, and the hallways were too narrow for Audrey to be wheeled to her bedroom or the bathroom. Additionally, the hospital care team said it was unsafe to travel in a normal car, but the family cannot afford a wheelchair accessible one.

According to ABC, the NDIA only approached Audrey’s request on June 6th, nearly a month after the initial worsening of Audrey’s condition. It took until the 17th for the department to receive all the necessary medical records to make an evaluation. It wasn’t until the 24th that a meeting and review could take place, which Mr. Wallace wasn’t good enough.

“We feel everyone is reactive instead of proactive… and we feel that this has taken a lot of time away from Audrey and time is something we don’t have,” Mr. Wallace told ABC.

But sunnier days lie ahead for the Gold Coast family, starting when couple Donna Moore and Erica Breitzke read the June 23rd report and offered to loan a wheelchair-accessible van, which they had previously planned to sell, to the Wallaces.

Ms. Moore told the outlet that she had epilepsy as a child, and was moved by Audrey’s plight.

“It’s going to open up so much freedom, just being able to do normal things like take her out to the shops,” Mrs. Wallace said about the van. “It just allows us to have our life back.

Then, after persistent inquiries from ABC News, the NDIA and the Queensland Department of Housing investigated the case and approved a disability-accessible home on the Gold Coast with 24-hour nursing assistance.

The family are busy packing.

“We can actually sit back and be parents, and not be all the hats,” said mom Ashlee. “Now we can focus on her unicorn party that’s happening at the end of July, to give her the best time ever.”

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