The-Advocate by okyestao


									   Sep to Oct 2010    A voice for equity, inclusiveness and empowerment

                                                 Crossing over
                                                 How traffic lights brought a

                                                 community together
                                                 Power up
                                                 Claiming your electricity rebate

woman                                            Here’s to you
                                                 Paying tribute to carers
Wendy Adams is making                            Also in this issue:
a difference                                     What next for the Bill of Rights?
                                                 SEAT gets to work
                                                 Family fun in Townsville
                                                 The Association in the noughties

Sep to Oct 2010

in this
edition                                                 FROM THE
Electricity rebate
Home Hill crossing
Spotlight on research                  7            n August we welcomed back the Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce

 Wendy Adams                          10         Ms Bryce served as our patron for six years while she was Governor of
                                                 Queensland. It was a wonderful opportunity for Her Excellency to help us
Tribute to carers                     12         continue our 50th anniversary celebrations and for us to thank her for her
                                                 patron, her commitment to disability issues remains strong. We continue to
                                                 value Her Excellency’s support and the time she gives to the Association.
Post Polio Week                       20
                                                 This visit by the Governor-General also marked a new era for the Association.

                                                 type of event. Previously we have used the link for sharing information and
the advocate                                     staff communication. We will be using this link much more now to engage our
publication of the Spinal                        Townsville area members and supporters and will continue to look to engage
Injuries Association                             our other regional members and supporters.

                                                 In July, the State Opposition Leader, John-Paul Langbroek, Shadow Disability
                                                 Services Minister, Andrew Cripps and Mr Cripps’ policy advisor, Tim Barnett

                                                 at a recent business function. CEO Mark Henley, John Mayo, Frances Porter
                                                 and I took the opportunity to discuss the National Disability Insurance Scheme
                                                 (NDIS) and help our visitors understand the challenges faced by people with

                                                 forward to continuing these discussions with both
                                                 the Opposition and Bligh government.

                                                 Your board is going to be very responsive to
                                                 the recommendations from our recent member
                                                 survey. Some changes are already being
                                                 implemented and l look forward to reporting to
                                                 you our new initiatives in the next few editions of
Medilaw is proudly supporting                    the advocate.
education and injury prevention
through the Spinal Injuries                      David Riley, President
                                                                                                 Her Excellency and Robert Spencer

The advocate is sponsored by Medilaw
                                                 to contact                               to contact
                                                                                          the Association
The views expressed in the advocate do
Spinal Injuries Association.                     Vanessa Mannix Coppard                   PO Box 5651, West End 4101
                                                 Publications Coordinator
                                                 PO Box 5651
                                                 West End QLD 4101              


 2                             Sep to Oct 2010
                                                  MARK HENLEY


                                                                                 accidents, and Stronger Together,

       s this issue of the           of assistance that they require. We will
                                                                                 designed to better meet the needs of
       advocate goes to print,       bring you more news of this soon.
                                                                                 people with a disability, their families
       the results of the Federal
                                                                                 and carers in New South Wales.
Election are uncertain. What         More welcome news is the government
is known is that,throughout          announcement of the Medical Cooling
                                                                                 We recently recognised and thanked
the campaign, each of the            and Heating Electricity Concession
                                                                                 those whose contributions make a
major parties made greater           Scheme. This rebate is explained
                                                                                 real difference to the Association.
commitments to support for           more fully on page 4. While it is not as
                                                                                 In June, we recognised the many
people with a disability than        high as sought, it is a start and we will
                                                                                 volunteers, including our SEAT
during any other election            pursue a better future outcome.
                                                                                 presenters, member network
campaign. Both Labor and the
                                                                                 facilitators, post polio support group
LNP indicated their support of       The Productivity Commission has
                                                                                 convenors, and, of course, Board
a proposed National Disability       ended the consultation period of its
                                                                                 members and others, who willingly
Insurance Scheme (NDIS),             inquiry into a proposed long-term care
                                                                                 give so much of their time and
pending the outcome of the           and support scheme for people with a
                                                                                 energy to the Association. In July,
Productivity Commission’s inquiry.   severe disability. The Association made
                                                                                 we welcomed to the Woolloongabba
While these commitments are          a submission and I know a number of
encouraging, it is only post-        members responded individually to the
                                                                                 special event to acknowledge their
election that we will see how well   Commission. The campaign for this
                                                                                 work with us. Many of our suppliers,
they are delivered. We will wait     scheme -- which may take the form of
                                                                                 including TechnologyOne, Metro
and see, and keep you informed.      a National Disability Insurance Scheme
                                                                                 Ford and Tailored Consulting, deliver
                                     (NDIS) -- is gathering strength with the
                                                                                 exceptional service and additional
At a State level, the June budget    appointment of both State and Federal
                                                                                 support and it was great to have a
offered some good news. An           campaign coordinators. Former New
                                                                                 chance to thank them.
extra $3.2 million of funding for    South Wales government minister
personal support and housing         John Della Bosca takes up the Federal
                                                                                 Results of the recent user needs
                                     role and brings a wealth of experience
extra $1.5 million allocated to      in disability, being respons ble for
                                                                                 University, are being considered by
the Spinal Cord Injury Response      the introduction of the New South
                                                                                 the Association. You can read more
program) is a welcome outcome        Wales Lifetime Care Authority, which
                                                                                 about this on page 14. Thanks to
that will help people with spinal    provides treatment, rehabilitation and
                                                                                 everyone who participated in this
cord injuries live with the levels   care to people injured in motor vehicle
                                                                                 important survey.

       Your Orthotic Solution
       Improved Comfort, Safety and Stability for Sitting, Standing or Walking
       Orthotic Solutions help clients with weakness and instability resulting from Polio or spinal injuries.
       We design, manufacture and service Orthoses ranging from pressure relieving insoles to custom made
       AFOs, KAFOs and Calipers using plastics, lamination techniques or traditional metal and leather designs.
       Services provided by Orthotic Solutions can be funded by MASS, DVA or Workcover for eligible persons,
       or by private funding arrangements including Private health insurance.

       Please call us on 07 3356 4676 for more information and to make
       an appointment to visit our Stafford or Holland Park clinic.

                                                                                   Sep to Oct 2010                          3

      Power up
      The Medical Cooling and Heating Electricity Concession
      Scheme: what it means for you
                                                                                           Get your form from

              ontinued increases in            Queensland resident and have a
              electricity costs have           qualifying condition (which includes        The form can be obtained from the
              put pressure on many             spinal cord injury) that requires cooling   Queensland Government website
      households, particularly those           or heating to prevent the symptoms of       (visit and search
      that include people living on low        their condition worsening. They must        for ‘medical cooling’) or by emailing
      incomes. The situation is worse                                            
      for people, such as many of                  be residing at their principal place
      our members, whose medical
      condition makes them dependent               air conditioning unit.                  How do I receive the rebate?
      on air conditioners or heaters               hold a current Pensioner                Quarterly payments will be made
      to keep their core temperature               Concession Card (issued by              by electronic funds transfer to the
      stable and their health in check.            Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs),       applicant’s nominated bank account.
      Now a new rebate from the State              or a current Health Care Card
      Government will help ease the                (issued by Centrelink), and             Do I have to reapply?
      burden, offering $216 a year to                                                      You will have to reapply for the
      people whose injury or illness               the payment of the relevant             concession every two years.
      means they need to use electrical            component of the electricity bill
      appliances to help control their                                                     permanent medical condition will
      body temperature.                        The rebate is worth                         not need to obtain a new medical

      What is the concession?                  $216 a year.
                                                                                           status or living arrangements remain
                                               How do I apply?                             unchanged.
      assistance to low-income
                                               To apply for the concession, complete
      Queenslanders with a medical
                                               the application form and arrange for        You will be contacted six months
      condition which requires the use
                                               your medical practitioner to complete       before your concession approval
      of electricity for cooling or heating.
      It is designed to assist individuals                                                 expires.
                                               will have to meet any costs involved
      with the increased electricity costs
                                               with this yourself). A parent or legal      How can I get more information?
      incurred by frequent operation
                                               guardian can complete an application
      of an air conditioner in order to
      regulate body temperature. The                                                       and search for ‘medical cooling’, email
                                               years. A legal guardian or person 
      concession is not limited to one
                                               holding a power of attorney may also
      person per household, but all
                                               complete the application on behalf of
      applicants must meet all of the
                                               an adult applicant.The person with the
      eligibility criteria outlined below.
                                               qualifying medical condition must be
                                               listed on the form as the applicant.
      Who is eligible?
      The applicant must be a

                                                Gala dinner goes gold
      Don’t miss                                Celebrate Spinal Injuries Awareness Week with us
      Lisa Hunt!
                                                Join us on Saturday, 13 November at the Hilton Hotel, Brisbane to celebrate

                                                a splash of gold – celebrates the Spinal Injuries Association’s 50th ‘golden’

                                                Soul singing sensation Lisa Hunt is returning for an encore performance; the

                                                special guest speakers to entertain and inform. Tickets go on sale this month –
                                                book online at, email or call

  4                        Sep to Oct 2010
                                                                                                             FEATURE STORY

       Crossing over
       The opening of a highway crossing in a Queensland town is anything but pedestrian.

        ome Hill is a North Queensland     A three-year campaign that began            Hill. In years to come, we’ll be able to
        town, just south of Ayr and        with a cup of tea in the backyard           say we were here when Home Hill’s
        home to about 3,000 people,        of a member saw the Association’s
including several Association              Executive Manager — Community
members. It’s known as the water           Relations John Mayo join forces with        John Mayo said the opening of the
capital of Australia and its town logo     Scott to advocate for what would be         crossing had implications beyond
boasts that the sugar cane town is                                                     Home Hill.
‘the sweetest place in the world’. By      a button-activated, time-controlled
all accounts, Home Hill has always                                                     “It is hard to believe in this day and
been a pretty good place to live           permit the safe crossing of the main        age that pedestrians are locked out
-- except that you couldn’t get from       street by pedestrians.                      of the right to participate in their town
one side to the other without risking                                                  because there is no safe designated
your life. Association board member        Designing the crossing was a                pedestrian access to cross the main
and Townsville Member Network              collaborative effort involving Main         street.
                                           Roads, the Association and the
                                           Burdekin Shire Council. Main Roads          “It was critical for the Association to
“The main street of Home Hill is           Minister Craig Wallace descr bed the        engage in this matter and establish
the Bruce Highway (Highway 1) – it         process as a great example of ‘what         the precedent in Home Hill to secure
divides the eastern side of the town,      can be achieved when everyone pulls         people’s rights. As part of that journey
where most people live, and the            together’.                                  we have discovered there are other
western side of the town which houses                                                  Queensland towns with no pedestrian
many businesses and services only          In June, Scott joined Mr. Wallace in        crossing in their main street — and
available on that side.The lack of a       opening the landmark crossing that, in
safe, convenient crossing denied           being accessible to all, has effectively    from Home Hill’s outcome.”
Home Hill residents equal opportunity      brought the Home Hill community
to public facilities and services, while   together.                                   John says the dilemma for any town
property owners and tenants missed                                                     without a safe crossing is that there
out on sales.”                             “It means we have a safer access for        will be some business services on
                                                  the whole community, not just        one side of the main street that are
                                                  for those of us in wheelchairs       exclusive, ie. not available on the
 Helen Basse and Scott Stidston (front)
                                                  — it’s been a long time              opposite side. In Home Hill that
 with Craig Wallace and David Atkinson
                                                  coming,” said Scott.                 included the only women’s clothing
                                                                                       shop, banking, insurance, information
                                                  Resident Helen Basse said
                                                  the crossing meant she could         John explained that the crossing
                                                  resume her volunteer work at         was a long time coming because of
                                                  the town’s information centre.       initial reticence from Main Roads,
                                                                                       the Council and the local business
                                                  “I have limited mobility and this    association.
                                                  crossing has opened up my
                                                  life — I can come up into town       “The matter had to be tested in the
                                                  now and easily use the public        Anti-Discrimination Commission.
                                                  facilities and cross safely to the   When agreement was reached
                                                  information centre.”                 through conciliation, the funding and
                                                                                       design took time.
                                                  Craig Wallace paid tribute to
                                                  the efforts of the Association       “Now the crossing is installed,
                                                  and others in making the             everyone is saying it’s great — and
                                                  crossing a reality.                  Minister Wallace was genuinely happy
                                                                                       when he and Scott Stidston jointly
                                                  “The real heroes on this historic
                                                  day are those community
                                                  members who drove this               “The Association was pleased too”.
                                                  project from the start,” he said.
                                                  “It’s an historic day for Home

                                                                                       Sep to Oct 2010                        5
                                             bill of rights
                                             WHAT HAVE WE GOT INSTEAD?

         embers may recall the energy          bau ked at the recommendation for        said Centre Director Professor Sarah
         the Association applied in            a Human Rights Act that would allow      Joseph. Professor Joseph noted it
         regards to Australia adopting         judges to assess Commonwealth            was strange that the Government
the UN Human Rights Convention                 laws, policies and practices for human   chose to establish the committee, only
as part of the process to achieve an           rights compliance”. (,       to reject its major recommendation.
Australian Bill of Rights.                     23 April, 2010).
                                                                                        The Shadow Attorney-General George
The Rudd Labor Government rejected             “In the long run the question will       Brandis has said the Government has
the establishment of a Human                   be whether or not politicians,           thrown away $2 million endorsing a
                                               when dealing with complex and            concept which never had community
                                               controversial issues such as asylum      support, stating that Mr McClelland
National Human Rights Consultation             seekers or Aboriginal rights or          backed the move towards a Bill of
panel, chaired by law professor Father         detention questions with security,       Rights, only to have his own party
Frank Brennan.
                                               faithful to those obligations when
The introduction of a Bill of Rights           there’s not the prospect of some
or Human Rights Act was what                   judicial oversight,” he said.            and truly to the Charter of Rights mast
the disability sector wanted and                                                        and he’s been humiliated by his own
importantly, such an Act was the major         Professor Brennan stated that if the     Cabinet,” he said.
recommendation made by the panel.              Government’s game plan proved to
Instead, the Government’s response,            be ineffective, the case for a Human
announced by Attorney-General the              Rights Act would only become             Opposition’s position on the
Hon Robert McClelland MP proposed              stronger.                                human rights issue, stating that the
a large expansion of Government                                                         Opposition was encouraged by the
spending on the human rights                   Dr Helen Watchirs, ACT Human Rights      fact the Government did not endorse
‘industry’, in both the Government and         and Discrimination Commissioner,         the Bill, reminding the public about the
non-Government sectors.                        along with the Australian Human          amount of time, energy and money
                                               Rights Group (AHRG), both agreed         that has been wasted in attempting to
Mr McClelland said the Government              more human rights education and a        support the idea.
believes a human rights framework,             new Parliamentary committee are a
rather than legislation, is more               positive progression towards better      Points from the Government’s
appropriate, and that all new bills            protection of human rights, but stated   proposed Human Rights
introduced to Parliament will have             that these actions by the Government     Framework:
to be compatible with Australia’s
international human rights obligations.        Human Rights Act.
                                                                                        the Hon Robert McClelland, published
“The Government believes that                  Liberty Victoria expressed further       a document called Protection and
the enhancement of human rights                disappointment at the Government’s       Promotion of Human Rights in
should be done in a way that as far            rejection of key human rights            Australia, upon receiving the National
as possible unites rather than divides         recommendations made by the              Human Rights Consultation panel’s
our community, and the framework is            Brennan committee, descr bing the        recommendations.
designed to achieve that outcome,” he          refusal to support a Human Rights
said.                                          Act as an indicator the Government       “The Consultation has demonstrated
                                               does not consider human rights a top     that there are strong views on the
“Nevertheless, as you’ll see, the              priority.                                merits of a Human Rights Act. It has
                                                                                        also shown that there are many other
recommendations of the human                   “We are profoundly disappointed that     ways to protect and promote human
rights consultation committee and we           the Government has decided not           rights including through enhanced
believe [it] will make a real difference.”     to adopt a Human Rights Charter.         education and improved parliamentary
                                               The powers of the Australian Human       scrutiny.
Leading human rights activists                 Rights Commission, except in the area
have expressed disappointment in               of expanding its education role, have    The Government is committed to
the Government’s response. Law                 not been enhanced. It also seems that
Professor, Father Frank Brennan                a number of the committee’s other
stated that “the Rudd Government has           recommendations have been ignored,”          foster an Australian culture where

 6                       Sep to Oct 2010
        the fundamental human rights                 must preserve the sovereignty of
        of all people are respected and              Parliament

        protected, and                               access to information and
        ensure a range of mechanisms                 education about human rights is
        are available to promote and                 critical.”

        protect those rights.                    (The Hon Robert McClelland, MP

                                                 In April 2010 the Rudd Government
        respect for human rights
        underpins Australian society and
                                                 issued a document known as
                                                                                               READ the
        our future as a safe and inclusive
                                                 This framework document contains
        more can be done to ensure               explanations which describe                   ONLINE.
        fundamental human rights are             exactly what this framework holds
        considered by Government;                for the Australian public instead             If you would prefer to
        any change to enhance the                of a Bill of Rights. For more                 read the advocate online, go to
        protection and promotion of              information, visit   
        human rights and responsibilities        humanrightsframework.                         news/advocate-magazine/

The Community Yellow Envelope
An exciting new initiative in North Queensland health care


It is because of all these issues that Townsville health and community service providers have initiated the Yellow Envelope Project.

health directive) from the person’s home to hospital, and back again when the person is discharged.

providers. Training commenced in May 2010 with all of these groups now trained.

Staff from about 20 disability provider agencies in Townsville (including the Spinal
injuries Association) have participated in the training, and the Association is using the
envelope with the approximately 50 people we work with in the community.

The project will be evaluated in October 2010, incorporating feedback from people
with disabilities, their carers, older people, community providers, GPs and hospital
and ambulance staff.

The Yellow Envelope Project is funded by Queensland Health through the
Connecting Healthcare in Communities (CHIC), and is a community and health
provider partnership. The Spinal Injuries Association is a member of the project
working group in Townsville. The Yellow Envelope has been successfully undertaken
and is operating across community and residential care services in New South Wales
and now in Townsville. If the Townsville project is a success, the Association will
explore ways to establish the Yellow Envelope Project in other parts of Queensland.
For enquiries or further details, please feel free to contact Cathy Lengyel, NQ
Manager on 07 4755 1755.

                                                                                            Sep to Oct 2010                    7
Why spinal cord injury research            enough to establish the appropriate            Kwon and his colleagues also tried to
often disappoints                          pre-clinical evidence. The majority of         pinpoint some of the bias in the way pre-
Interest in spinal injury research         respondents considered that large animal       clinical research results are interpreted.
to protect and repair the damaged          models, such as cats, dogs, rabbits,           One issue was the problem that negative
                                           sheep, etc, were necessary to obtain           results are generally not published. One
decades. We are all aware that there       meaningful pre-clinical evidence. In the
are unproven and experimental              case of invasive cell transplant therapies     it can cast on researchers, especially
procedures being offered around the        the addition of primate models was             when the research is the main focus of
world, which have been attracting a        also deemed necessary. Some of the             their career or place of work. Another
lot of community, as well as media,        issues with this kind of comprehensive         reason may be the reluctance of high
attention. Nevertheless researchers        experimentation are the accessibility          impact journals to publish such data.
and clinicians are still working hard      and availability of these types of models.     Whatever the reason, not publicising
                                           The paper also discusses the enormous          negative results slows progress because
for spinal cord injury. Often these        expense involved with conducting               knowing what doesn’t work can be
treatments are felt to be just ‘around     these types of experiments. Kwon and           as important as what does and, if it is
the corner’, although we have all          his colleagues commented that “the             unknown, the same studies may be
heard of promising outcomes from                                                          repeated unnecessarily. The survey also
pre-clinical studies which then fail       large animal or primate studies simply         highlighted concerns about modifying or
when they reach human trials.              unattainable.”                                 repeating results to obtain the desired
                                                                                          outcomes. Respondents were divided
Canadian researcher Dr Brian               Kwon and colleagues surveyed clinicians        on the need for researchers being ‘blind’
Kwon and colleagues have                   and scientists about the types of models       when assessing experimental or control
published a survey of the opinions         that were required to obtain clinically        groups.
and perspectives of 324 clinicians         meaningful evidence and found there was
and scientists working to develop          a need for different types of models to        Spinal cord injury clinicians and
promising interventions which will         be tested, as well as different severities     researchers are driven by one goal
translate into effective treatments for    of injury, so the variation in human injury    – to discover effective treatments for
people with spinal cord injuries. The      could be replicated. For potential trials on   individuals with a spinal cord injury.
aims of the survey were to establish       cervical injuries there was seen to be an      Currently, promising pre-clinical
what pre-clinical evidence is needed                                                      interventions often go to trial without
to get a treatment into a successful       cervical injury model. The contusion injury    replication by different labs or duplication
clinical trial, how this evidence could    model was thought to best represent            in different animal models. Kwon and
be obtained and to identify some           human spinal cord injuries due to the fact     his colleagues have uncovered some
of the biases that are involved in         that most injuries in people are caused by     interesting information on the opinions
interpreting this evidence. They           a sudden blunt trauma that bruises, rather     and perspectives of clinicians and
discuss the similarities with the stroke   than cuts, the cord. Respondents were          scientists. They suggest that a framework
community, where inconsistent and          asked to predict the time window between       for guiding pre-clinical studies would
sometimes inadequate pre-clinical          injury and treatment in animals that           be helpful and stress that the extensive
experimentation resulted in many           would be relevant to humans. For acute         dialogue between spinal cord injury
treatments failing in clinical trials.     (early) interventions, the time window of      researchers and translators needs to
                                           hours to days was thought to be similar        continue.
As a response to these failures            in animals and people. However, for
the stroke community introduced            chronic trials, where treatments may           This ar icle is a review of this academic
‘evidentiary milestones’. It is clear
that spinal cord injury research lacks     majority thought a delay of six weeks
clear guidelines or a practical and        to three months was acceptable in              Community. By Brian K. Kwon, Jessica
realistic framework to maximise the        animals; however another large section         Hillyer, and Wolfram Tetzlaff. Journal of
chances of developing treatments           of respondents required a delay of 12
that will work for individuals with a      months or more. Clinically meaningful
spinal cord injury.                        evidence was thought to consist of an
                                           improvement in behavioural ability, which
The authors suggest the spinal             can include hind-limb locomotor function
cord injuries research community           and reduction in neuropathic pain. There
needs to establish ‘how much is            was a strong requirement to replicate
enough?’. There was no doubt               results in an independent laboratory             Please note that research news is
about the necessity of live animal         before a treatment is moved into a clinical      included for information purposes only.
experimentation but it was apparent        trial.                                           The Spinal Injuries Association does not
that rodent models were not always

                                                                                            professional medical advice.
                     Sep to Oct 2010
                                                                                      support of the SEAT program.”

                                                                                      Funds raised from SEAT at WORK
                                                                                      presentations are invested into the
                                                                                      school-based SEAT program which
                                                                                      shares crucial safety messages with
                                                                                      children throughout Queensland. The

                                                                                      to speak to 120,000 primary and high

                                                                                      At a glance

      he Association’s SEAT at           has made me have a look at my life           Of those people who sustain a work-
      WORK program, which                and where I can mitigate risks to avoid
      is all about sharing injury        possible injuries occurring. It is easy to       70% never return to work
prevention messages and raising          sit in a site induction and think you know       60% are aged between 25 and 34
disability awareness, is helping         everything but when you see the effects          years
reduce spinal cord injuries from the     on a disabled person’s life and realise it
boardroom to the worksite.               could happen to anyone, then it makes
                                         you have a closer look at your own life
                                         and pay more attention to inductions and
The program’s goal to reduce
                                         safety issues in general.”
Queensland’s rate of spinal cord
injuries sustained ‘on the job’ has      Watpac also donates funds from its
been bolstered by the ongoing            workplace vending machines to the
commitment to workplace safety by        Assocation.
Watpac and ENERGEX, SEAT at
WORK’s strongest supporters.             ENERGEX invites the SEAT at WORK
                                         team to give presentations twice a year to
Construction and development             each induction of new apprentices. The
giant Watpac has invited SEAT at         team has also visited depots to speak to
WORK presenters Robert Spencer           other workers on the importance of not        Lessons with a laugh at
and Geoff Lemon to speak to staff        cutting corners. Workers have praised the     ENERGEX
                                         ‘honesty and genuineness’ of presenters,
importance of workplace safety and       while one described the presentation
the consequences of sustaining           as ‘the best I have had while working at
a permanent spinal cord injury.          ENERGEX’.
Managing Director Greg Kempton

its goal of being a good corporate       Tarvit said SEAT at WORK reinforced the
citizen.                                 messages given to apprentices during
                                         their initial six-month training which
“We’re proud to be supporters of         focused on safety.
the Spinal Injuries Association, not
just because of the good work the        “Seeing and hearing someone who
Association does but also for the        has been injured brings it home to
value it adds to our organisation,”      the apprentices and shows them the
said Mr Kempton.                         consequences of their actions. It makes
                                         them realise accidents really do happen.”
“SEAT offers our employees a
real-life example of people who’ve       SEAT Marketing Manager Sheila
sustained a serious permanent            Andrews says the support of Watpac and
injury who speak honestly about the      ENERGEX is invaluable to the SEAT
trauma they’ve experienced and the       program and shows the companies’
challenges they face in their everyday   strong focus on safety.
                                         “Watpac and ENERGEX have
                                         demonstrated their commitment to
of a bad decision.” Mr Kempton said      providing the highest possible safety
Watpac believed that the ongoing         standards for their employees and in
relationship with SEAT would help        driving home the message that every
keep safety at the forefront of          individual has a responsibility for their
workers’ minds.                          own safety and that of their colleagues.

Feedback from staff has shown            “We applaud Watpac and ENERGEX for
the impact of the presentation           their ongoing commitment to reducing
                                         workplace injuries and their continued

                                                                                       Sep to Oct 2010
MEMBER PROFILE                                                            Wonder

     How much difference can one person make? Lots, when that person is Toowoomba’s
     own Wonder Woman, Wendy Adams.

                                            want to go out. My friends invited me      Society. She loves Toowoomba

           ou probably recognise            out but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to   and says it’s a fairly accessible city,
           Wendy Adams. The vibrant         stay home. After a while they stopped      although it wasn’t always this way.
           Toowoomba member is              asking. And I didn’t want to be around     Much of its accessibility initiatives are
     a busy woman – she is a SEAT           people in wheelchairs. I wanted to be      due to Wendy’s access advisory role
     presenter, runs the Toowoomba          around ‘normal’ people.”                   with the Council as well as her own
     Member Network, volunteers                                                        efforts to improve her ability to get
     at Toowoomba’s                         Early ventures to the shops with her       around.
                                            mum and sister didn’t bolster Wendy’s
     board of Warrina Services              courage. “We were at Kmart and I           “I remember a friend and I went out
     (an organisation that supports         remember an old lady actually moved        and marked down all the broken
     people with a disability to live       me out of the way to get to the red
     independently) and has acted           light specials!”                           them all,” she says.
     as an access advisor to the
     Toowoomba Regional Council.            She laughs about it now (Wendy’s           Despite the rewards of being
     Why so much? “It keeps me on           always laughing) but those                 where everyone knows your name
     my toes,” says Wendy with her          experiences left their mark and she is     (especially Wendy’s), regional living
     ever-present smile. “And a lot of      keen now to tell newly injured people,     brings extra challenges for people with
     the things I do, I do because I like   particularly young women, that ‘there      a disability.
                                            is light at the end of the tunnel’. She
                                            has visited Brisbane’s Spinal Injuries     “Getting help is harder,” admits
     Part of Wendy’s drive to help          Unit and spends a lot of time advising     Wendy. “Getting equipment is one of
     people comes from her own              people by phone of the assistance          the hardest things when you have to
     experiences. Sustaining                available to them. “People are always      pay for the cost of shipping it to you.
     quadriplegia in a car accident at      taking my number down and passing
     the age of 17, Wendy recalls the       it on to friends they know who need
     dark days following. “I always said    advice.”                                   access ble public transport when I
     I never got depressed. But I know
     now, looking back, I did.              Wendy’s a country girl, a shearer’s        survived back then but we did.”
                                            daughter from Dirranbandi on
     “It was such a relief to get out of    Queensland’s Western Downs, who            Wendy notes that community attitudes
     the hospital – I hated the hospital    moved to Toowoomba at 15 to work in        towards people with spinal cord
     – but when I got home I didn’t         the mailroom of the Heritage Building      injuries have ‘improved tenfold’ since

10                       Sep to Oct 2010
                                              Wendy in the What’s Up in

                                                                                       Tell 50 in our 50th year!

                                                                                            EAT and the Motor Accident
                                                                                            Insurance Commission
                                                                                            (MAIC) were excited to last
                                                                                       month launch the       campaign.

                                                                                       With the most common cause of
                                                                                       spinal cord injuries due to road
                                                                                       trauma and the most common
                                                                                       demographic to sustain this type
                                                                                       of injury between the ages of 15
                                                                                       and 30,         is aimed at high
                                                                                       school students who view a SEAT
her own accident more than 20 years        She says Member Networks serve a            presentation between August and
ago.                                       valuable role in getting information        November.
                                           and updates out to people, citing
“We’re not hidden in our houses            the recent Government heating and
anymore. We’re out in the community        cooling rebate as an example.
                                                                                       encourage the thousands of
so there’s more awareness.
                                                                                       students they speak to in that
Sometimes people will still come           Wendy also works at Toowoomba’s
                                                                                       four-month period to download a
towards me with a frown on their
                                                                                       short video from our website, which
face; it’s l ke they don’t know how to     she is currently the editor of the
                                                                                       contains powerful injury prevention
approach me. So I just smile.”             organisation’s bimonthly magazine.
                                                                                       messages about the realities of
                                                                                       road trauma. These students will
                                           a week. I absolutely love it. I enjoy
          Wendy in Toowoomba’s                                                         then be encouraged to share
                                           meeting up with the other guys and
          Ruthven Street                                                               this video with at least 50 of their
                                           providing advice to people.”
                                                                                       friends (given it’s the Spinal Injuries
                                                                                       Association’s 50th anniversary) via
                                           It’s hard to believe Wendy has much
                                                                                       Facebook, Twitter, blogs or any
                                                                                       other social networking site that
                                           one of her many community roles,
                                                                                       they choose.
                                           her favourite shows (which include
                                                                ,                      Students who share the video will
                                           Housewives and Home and Away),              then go into four monthly draws to
                                           going to the movies or feeding her          win a $500 cash prize!
                                           addiction to Facebook.
                                                                                       Once the video goes online, it can
                                           “Facebook is the best thing that ever       be easily shared among young
                                           happened!” says Wendy, who says             people throughout Queensland and
                                           she’s caught up with many old friends       beyond – an amazing legacy for
                                           on the social networking site, including    SEAT and MAIC.
                                           some she hadn’t seen since before
One of Wendy’s great passions is           her accident.                               See the video at
her role as a presenter for the Spinal
Education Awareness Team (SEAT),           Keeping up with friends is important
a program she discovered more than         for the self-confessed ‘people person’
10 years ago while living in Childers.     who actively works to improve her
“I love SEAT. I love going in and          community, not just for people with
teaching the kids about being safe. I      a disability but for everyone. Wendy
always say, if I can help one child from   dreams of a society where everyone
being injured, it’s worth it.”             is accepted for who they are, a

While Wendy jokes that she was             favourite sayings, featured in the
‘roped into’ becoming Toowoomba’s
Member Network coordinator in
2005, it’s a role she enjoys although      “One day I hope people don’t see            Star of Tell 50, Finbar Mills (right) ,
admits ‘it’s a big job’ and it can be      my disability. They just see me as          on the set of the video
challenging to engage local members.       a person and they don’t see my
“Toowoomba’s the sort of town where        wheelchair at all.”
people don’t want to come out of their
warm houses and go to meetings!”

                                                                                      Sep to Oct 2010                       11
           CARERS WEEK
           17-23 OCTOBER
                                                                                       Ben says sometimes carers need to
                                                                                       ‘take a step back and realise it’s up to
                                                                                       the injured person to take control of
                                                                                       their life. It’s their journey’.

                                                                                       Harry Chalk
                                                                                       Injury: Post polio syndrome
                                                                                       Carer: Ellie (wife)

                                                                                       Harry and Ellie Chalk, of Goodna on
                                                                                       the Brisbane-Ipswich border, have
           Harry and Ellie Chalk
                                                                                       two daughters, Tammy and Robyne

                                                                                       been using a wheelchair for about the

     Here’s to you
                                                                                       last 20 years and Ellie, 56, has been
                                                                                       his carer ‘since day dot’.

                                                                                       “We’ve only had paid carers for about
                                                                                       10 years. We receive four hours help
                                                                                       a day but it’s not really enough. We’ve
 Carers are the unpaid – and often unsung – heroes of our community.                   put in for more hours but we keep
                                                                                       getting knocked back. They don’t tell

              ost people with a spinal      “I always let Teri know that I’d be        us why,” says Ellie.
              cord injury require at        having a shower in the next half an
              least some support as         hour or so, so she has plenty of time      Harry’s health is not good and he
     they go about their daily lives. For   to do it.                                  needs care 24 hours a day, leaving
     many of these people, the person                                                  Ellie with few opportunities to go out
     who provides this support – their      “I try not to be too heavily reliant on    by herself or look after her own needs.
     carer – is an unpaid spouse,           my partner, not that she would mind –      “I’m worn out. I don’t get a break at all.
     family member or friend who often      she would go to the ends of the earth      I don’t get resentful, because I’m not
     carries out this role continuously     for me.”                                   that way inclined but I do put myself
     without a break. We spoke to three                                                last.”
     members about their experiences.       One of the things Ben loves most is
                                            when Teri gives him a massage. “‘Teri
     Ben Riley                              has shown me a lot about caring for
     Injury: Paraplegia                     my body, especially my paralysed
     Carer: Teri (partner)                  area, and it’s always good to have         “I like to do things fast. For me, carers
                                            your muscles and posture adjusted.”        need to be able to come in and pick
                                            Ben says he concentrates on what he        up the job very quickly and understand
     partner Teri and their daughter,       can do, not what he can’t.                 what my needs are.”
     Charli, 6 in Gympie where Ben
     works as an occupational health        “I mean, when me and Teri and Charli       Harry and Ellie are critical of the
                                            can support each other throughout          amount of paid support available to
     Ben is also a SEAT presenter and       our lives, our poss bilities are endless   people with a severe disability.
     does some other motivational           and all of a sudden the impossible
     speaking at events. He describes       becomes possible. There is no ‘I don’t     “It could improve,” says Ellie. “Put the
     himself as ‘100% independent’ –        think I can’ – it’s more ‘How can I?’”     politicians in the same situation and
     he lived by himself before he met      Ben’s mum works as a carer and he          I don’t think they’d cope. They sit in
     Teri – but says ‘when someone’s        says he is full of admiration for the
     there, I will use their services to    work they do.                              idea.”
     the best of my abilities’.
                                            “How can you put it into words?            Despite the challenges of their
     While Ben can handle most of his       Carers offer so much more than just        situation, Harry and Ellie share a
     personal care himself, he does         a clean bum and sanitised hands, it        strong relationship, a great sense of
     need Teri to assist in tasks such      can be a deep level of companionship,      humour and enjoy their life together.
     as get the shower head off the         trust and understanding.                   “I never worry about anything, I just
     hook so he can have a shower                                                      get on with it,” says Harry.
     or hold his wheelchair still when      “It’s important for the person cared
     transferring on a steep slope          for to realise that that the support       “There’s no point sitting in the corner
     or gutter, and says these are          worker is working in a vulnerable and      moping about it. Have a bit of fun.
     examples of ‘where give and take       confronting situation as well and they,    I don’t get out much but we do all
     comes in’.                             in turn, need to be supported.”            sorts of things at home. We’ve got
                                                                                       the computers. I love music. And Ellie

12                       Sep to Oct 2010
     often does little building projects.     Mary. “We have our arguments and             While Peter and Mary say they ‘have
     “Carers do a great job. It can           disagreements,” offers Peter but, says       everything we really need’, they agree
                                              Mary, “We’ve over it in a moment.”           that the carer’s pension could be more
     street and I try to be supportive                                                     and that they are lucky that a friend
     of Ellie.”                               Peter, who worked for many years,            and Peter’s sister, Helen, help with
                                              can handle a lot of his personal care        some home maintenance tasks such
     Peter Hamilton                           himself and still drives to the local        as mowing and vacuuming.
     Injury: Paraplegia                       shops. He keeps busy with computers,
     Carer: Mary (mother)                     music and TV while Mary spends               “We’re lucky. Some people could have
                                              most mornings volunteering as an             problems.”
     Peter and Mary Hamilton live             English teacher at the local Baptist
     in Sunnybank on Brisbane’s               Church or working in the canteen of
     southside in a house they bought         the QEII Hospital. She was involved              More than one in eight Australians
     for its accessibility after an           in the Sunnybank Theatre Group for               are carers
     accident left a then 21-year-old         20 years and still enjoys going to see

     The house marked their move to           “There is so much you can do if you
     ‘the big smoke’ from home town           want to,” says Mary. “People should
     Jandowae in the state’s west.            never say they’re bored.”
     While eligible, Peter has never                                                           More than one-third of carers
     had any paid carers and he and           While happy in her role as carer of her
     his mother describe themselves           67-year-old son, Mary admits that she
     as ‘very independent’.
                                              be perfectly honest, I’m quite happy
     “I have a routine and I’m quite          to be at home”) and doesn’t want to
     capable,’ says Mary. “We’ve              consider what will happen when she is
     lived as normal a life as anybody        no longer able to look after Peter.
     could. While we can do it                                                                 were caring for.
     ourselves, we will.”                     “I don’t think about it. I know it’s there
                                              but I don’t think about it.”
     Mother and son are ‘always                                                  
     laughing and smiling’, says

Announcing new sponsor Medilaw

      he Spinal Injuries Association is thrilled to announce it has a new sponsor – Medilaw, a national company with its

     national clients. Medilaw’s partnership with the Association will see it supporting our education and injury prevention
work and sponsoring the advocate.

Association CEO Mark Henley said that Medilaw’s sponsorship would help the Association advocate for people with a spinal
cord injury and continue to share injury prevention messages with Queensland children.

“We are delighted with Medilaw’s generous support and are particularly excited about their desire to build a long-term
sustainable partnership,” said Mark.

year. The more children our presenters can reach out to with their personal and very powerful stories, the better our chance
to further reducing injuries that will have a lifetime of consequences.

“It is fantastic that Medilaw shares our commitment to injury prevention and education. As we are celebrating our 50th
anniversary this year, they are also celebrating a special anniversary – their 10th anniversary.”

results of injuries, illnesses and disability, including spinal cord injury,” he said

“We look forward to the opportunity to work with the Spinal Injuries Association to make a difference to those people living
with a spinal cord injury and to support the education of children to help prevent future injuries.”

Medilaw’s sponsorship of the advocate will also help improve the content of the magazine by making available a pool
of medical experts. Medilaw’s specialist consultants include orthopaedic surgeons, pain specialists, neurosurgeons,
psychiatrists, urologists and respiratory physicians.

                                                                                           Sep to Oct 2010                     13

Housing, access and equipment top the list

      survey of more than 1,700 members and clients of the Association has revealed the major issues facing

the Association; services available to people with a disability; policy and funding; healthcare; regional needs; and the
experiences of families of people with a spinal cord injury.

The Association’s Executive Manager — Client Services Frances Porter thanked everyone who had completed the survey

“We appreciate the time people have taken to contribute their thoughts on how we can improve and best support and
empower people living with a spinal cord injury in Queensland,” she said.

“Understanding what our members and clients are most concerned about will help focus our advocacy efforts and decide
where our services can be enhanced and expanded.”

Frances said that one of the most str king points to emerge from the survey results was the high number of members who
reported that their meets were not being adequately met.

“About one-third of members are not getting all the services they need, with many saying cost is the reason,” said Frances.

“The researchers who carried out the survey noted a big difference between the ability to cope of people injured before 2005,
when the Spinal Cord Injury Response (SCIR) program was introduced, and those eligible for this funding. People without

“This issue highlights the urgent need for the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to provide long-
term support for people with a severe disability and ensure they do not have to go without the services they need to enjoy a
good quality of life.”

The survey was supplemented by focus groups held in Cairns, Bundaberg and Brisbane, including one with families of
current Spinal Injuries Unit patients. The families, all of whom had come from outside Brisbane, spoke of their stress, isolation
and alienation and suggested that opportunities to meet with others in a similar situation might be helpful.

The Association’s Executive Management team have been analysing the information from the review to formulate future
strategic plans to address the issues raised by members and clients. Lack of services or coordination of services in regional
areas was particularly highlighted by the focus groups as well as in the survey, so different strategies are being investigated
and considered to increase the services to people outside the Southeast corridor.

CEO Mark Henley says he appreciates the honesty of members who participated in the survey and focus groups.

“This information will ensure that we take on board, not only the positive feedback but also the negative, and we will continue
to keep people updated with future developments through articles in the advocate.”

Travel and Transport
have transport that is reliable to get us out of our homes. Taxis can pick you up three hours late and often not at all. Buses
are also unreliable. The taxi fares are too expensive even with the taxi cards. Our limited income is taking this out of our

Parking and Parking Permits

In-Home Care/Care/Respite:

Accommodation and Housing: “Ensure all people with disabilities have appropriate housing and personal care support.”

 14                     Sep to Oct 2010
Vocational support:
mainstream employment.”

Regional services: “We pay the same membership, we are the same members but we don’t get anything in return. We need
a base closer.”

Association’s advocacy

   Brisbane and Moreton regions were home to the highest number of respondents (65%), followed by the Wide
   Bay/Burnett region and Far North Queensland
   Most respondents were aged over 40 years
   Almost half of respondents sustained their injury more than 30 years ago

   Approximately one-third of respondents had some needs that are not being met. About half of these people
   cite cost as the reason, while more than a quarter say that the services they need are not available where they
   When asked to name the main issues facing people with a spinal cord injury, housing (63%) topped the list,
   followed by access (61.4%) and equipment (60%).

   Respondents said the Association’s main strengths are advocacy; service; and employment support
   Respondents said the biggest gaps in services available to them were in the areas of physical therapy;
   personal care; and gardening and home help/maintenance
   When asked if they could change one thing to make life better for people with disabilities in Queensland,
   accessibility; policies and funding; and public awareness were the top responses

                                                                                      Sep to Oct 2010                15
The noughties saw the Association become a force to be reckoned with and a
recognised leader in disability advocacy.

                                             disability, urging people to ‘stand up to     2005.
       millennium brought challenges         a government that is under-nourished
       and was marked by milestones          in both knowledge and spirit.’ The            While post polio syndrome (PPS)
that highlighted the Association’s           Association also lobbied for increases        members will tell you that the battle
                                             in the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme            to make the medical profession fully
government and advocating for                (MASS), with John Mayo talking to the         recognise their condition is ongoing,
members.                                     media about a 16-year-old boy waiting         much effort during the noughties
                                             seven months for a new wheelchair and         was put into increasing knowledge
Growth was a key theme of the                a woman faced with being admitted to          of PPS among doctors and other
decade with the Association adding           hospital when she was forced to wait          health professions. The beginning of
several more services such as its Peer       four months for a shower chair.               the decade saw Christine Tilley and
Support program, the Community                                                             other post polio members work with
Linking program and expanded                 During the 2004 Federal election              Queensland Health to develop an
others such as Employment Options            campaign, disappointed by a lack of           educational and training package that
and the Spinal Advisory Service. By          commitment from both major parties            went some way towards increasing
2002 the Association was outgrowing          regarding disability, CEO Mark Henley         awareness of the condition in the
its Kangaroo Point building and the          wrote letters to then Prime Minister
search was on for bigger premises.           John Howard and Opposition Leader             drop in members reporting a lack of
The Association sold the property            Mark Latham describing their stance           awareness of their health issues.
for more than four times what it paid        as ‘disgraceful and embarrassing’.
for it and moved to what was then            Pressure from the Association and the         The Spinal Education Awareness Team
known as Allgas House and what is            Unmet Needs Campaign saw every                (SEAT) continued to grow throughout
                                             political party then releasing a disability   the noughties, visiting its one-millionth
Woolloongabba.                                                                             student in 2005. SEAT entered the 21st
                                             election campaign.                            century with the beginning of its multi-
                                                                                           media presentations and the release of
February 2005 coincided with the launch      Later that year, the issue around             its                 DVD. In 2010, one of
of the Association’s new name. After         adequate support for people with a            SEAT’s founding presenters Wayne Leo
years of debate, the Paraplegic and          spinal cord injury reached a dramatic         reached the milestone of speaking to
Quadriplegic Association of Queensland       climax. Supported by the Association,         250,000 Queensland children.
became the Spinal Injuries Association.      six patients of the Spinal Injuries Unit,
Recalled Des Ryan, who was                   all with quadriplegia, refused to leave       Over the last 10 years, the Association
                                             the Unit until adequate at-home support       has worked hard to increase its regional
previous name – wow, what a mouthful!        was available to them. It was a stand-off     presence. In 2001, the Association
And people didn’t know what it was. We       that received national media coverage         bought land in Townsville to build a new
needed to rebrand … It was one of the        on programs including
best things we did.”                         and Channel 10 news, and resulted             impressive fundraising, particularly by
                                             in what would be a milestone for both         Judge Bob Pack, Fraser Montgomery
A new name helped raise the                  the Association and people living with        and others in the NQ Supporters
                                             a spinal cord injury in Queensland.
stronger now that at any other time          The introduction, in 2005, of the Spinal      Board member and Townsville Member
in its history. The support of high-         Cord Injury Response (SCIR) program           Network Facilitator Scott Stidston said
                                             changed lives, allowing people injured        this was a ‘huge’ leap forward for NQ
of Queensland, and ambassadors               from that date to receive support that        members. “It meant we were really
including the Classic Wallabies, who         would allow them to live in their homes.      establishing a presence in NQ. It was
came on board in 2005, has helped            Malakai Tava, one of the ‘gang of six’,
increase awareness of the Association        who had helped convince then Minister
and what it does.                            for Disability Services Warren Pitt to        Access has always been an issue
                                             make the funding available, said of the       for people with a spinal cord injury
Throughout the 2000s, the Association                                                      but during the noughties, it seemed
became a much stronger political             didn’t want him to only give me a funding
advocate that was not afraid to speak        package. I wanted the people who left         – though not without what Executive
up for people with spinal cord injuries in   hospital after me to get it too.” The         Manager, Community Relations John
Queensland. In 2002, the Association         Association continues to work to secure       Mayo described as ‘gentle assistance’.
campaigned against proposed cuts to          better funding for people injured before      In the Southeast, John led the

 16                       Sep to Oct 2010
                                             Tourism Queensland, also conducted
                                             regional tourism workshops.

                                             In 2005, the Association supported a
                                             member who won her action against
                                             the body corporate of her prestigious
                                             apartment to provide her with equitable
                                             access to the building. At the time, the
                                             Anti Discrimination Commission Susan
                                             Booth described the decision as the
                                             most important legal precedent since the

                                             latter part of the decade, the Association
Julie and Malakai Tava with Association      also worked with airlines to improve
                                             their policies regarding passengers
                                             with a disability. The Association also
                                                                                                                                               At a glance
Association’s push for equitable access      supported and welcome increased State
for Brisbane’s Roma Street Parklands,                                                                                                          In 2000, members Kelvin Haller
                                             Government funding and allocation of                                                              and Scott Stidston (both from Ayr)
the newly redeveloped Queen Street           maxi taxis in regional areas without
Mall, Brisbane’s busway tunnels and                                                                                                            carried the Olympic torch on its way
Suncorp Stadium. Member Ben Lawson                                                                                                             to Sydney
                                             “This will change people’s lives.”
initiated the action against the State
                                                                                                                                               In 2002, the Governor of Queensland
Government-owned stadium when the            As the decade ended, the Association
seating area allocated to people using                                                                                                         (Major General Peter Arnison)
                                             was continuing its work towards creating
wheelchairs meant he couldn’t sit with       an inclusive community, which includes
his friends at a State of Origin game.       backing the proposed introduction of a                                                            To mark Spinal Injuries Awareness
                                             National Disability Insurance Scheme                                                              Week in 2007, 50 members helped
differently just because I get around in a   (NDIS). In 2010 Mark Henley said
wheelchair.”                                 the top priorities of the Association                                                             empty wheelchairs, representing the
                                             included ‘making sure our members                                                                 number of Queenslanders sustaining
In the regions, access improvements          have appropriate levels of support,
were achieved in Kingaroy, Noosa, the                                                                                                          spinal injuries each year
                                             the equipment they require, and that
Whitsundays, Mt Isa, Maroochydore            hospitals and health services are                                                                 In 2006, Louise Yates became the
and in the North Queensland parliament       meeting their needs’.
in Toowoomba. In 2010, a landmark
                                                                                                                                               after Des Ryan resigned after seven
pedestrian crossing in Home Hill ended
                                                                                                                                               years in the role. Current President
years of inequitable access in that town     community regarding the inclusion of
(see page 5). The Association, with
                                                                                                                                               David Riley took up the post in late
                                             people with a disability.”                                                                        2007.

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                                                                                                                                          Sep to Oct 2010                      17
Virtual playground for all abilities
                                           industrial designer who has been
                                                                                      JOHN MAYO
                                                                                      Executive Manager —
                                                                                      Community Relations

                                                                                         guide for lay people into TM. His
Children with a range of different         consulting with the Association has           presentation has been recorded and
abilities can now all play in a virtual    designed an excellent door latch for          members can request copies free on
playground. Located at                     people with limited hand dexterity., the         The design combines a D-shaped      
All Abilities ePlayground is a free,       door grab rail on the back of the toilet
online play environment offering           door with lift-up, lift-down door latch       Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges access
fun and games in new, innovative           that works perfectly every time and           The new $2.12 billion Gateway
and accessible ways. It can be             requires minimal force from any part          Upgrade Project in Brisbane is nearing
played using a range of devices,           of the hand/lower arm to operate. Bitz
including touch screens and assistive      hopes to publish a photo in the near          Hielscher Bridge duplication complete
technologies like single switch and        future.                                       with pedestrian and cycle path
Puff2Play, in addition to the more                                                       providing cross river connectivity for
traditional gadgets like keyboards,        Robotic exoskeleton option of                 pedestrians and cyclists.
mouses and joysticks. A Gold Coast         walking
City Council initiative, the ePlayground   A small New Zealand company, Rex              Members wishing to access the new
was created by non-government              Bionics, has spent NZ$10 million              path can do so from either Lavarack
organisation Sonokids Australia                               developing a               Avenue and Kingsford Smith Drive on
with support from the Department of        product for the past seven years              the north side of the bridge (limited
Communities (Disability Services).         which it believes could potentially           street parking available), and Lytton
Its concept emerged as a result of                                                       Road on the south side of the bridge
community participation in creation of     The robotic exoskeleton known as              (additional access and off street
the Kurrawa All Abilities Playground       Rex is basically a pair of robotic legs       parking available in late 2010 pending
– a project the Spinal Injuries            that strap around the user’s legs and         construction of new park under Sir Leo
Association was involved with in           move the user’s legs via hand controls        Hielscher Bridge).
contributing its access knowledge. The     situated near the user’s waist.
ePlayground’s accessibility features                                                     Members should be aware that until at
have already seen it recognised as         Hayden Allen, a motorcycle racer who          least the end of November, there will
best practice by international awards      sustained paraplegia in an accident           be no disability parking available at
program ACCESS-IT.                         and is now an employee of Rex                 either the northern or southern sides of
                                           Bionics and a recent Rex user, says           the bridge for those wishing to access
Access action                              that being able to talk to someone at         the new path. Disability parking will
                                           eye level has made a big difference           be available in the Queensport Rocks
member Andrew Briggs, the Charters         to his life socially and that Rex has         Park under the southern side of the
Towers Central Business District has       delivered valuable changes medically.         bridge once construction of the park
undergone an access audit in August.       “In a wheelchair you’re prone to              is completed in late November. Those
In Brisbane, the Association has           getting infections. Now I’ve had time         wishing to park and access the new
been engaged in the design of three        on the Rex I don’t seem to have those         path can do so from this park. There
new City Cat terminals which should        complications anymore,” he says. The          will only be on-street parking available
                                           device will be available for sale in New      on the northern side of the bridge on
across the State. In Rockhampton,          Zealand by December 2010 and will             Kingsford Smith Drive and Lavarack
Des Ryan and Rebecca Rodger are            come with the price tag of US$150,000         Avenue.
linking transport services with shopping   (AUS$172,000).
centres. In Brisbane, Queensland Rail                                                    When using the new pedestrian and
has agreed to a workshop to overcome       Epic TM outcomes                              cycle path, members should be aware
station lift failure issues experienced    The Transverse Myelitis Day (17
by wheelchair users, following             May) USA video link up with the                   The pathway has a width of
advocacy by member Ben Lawson.                                                               4.25m. The cycle and pedestrian
                                           new vistas for access to information,             path will be divided by a 200mm
Door latch design                          awareness and contacts. University of             solid white line and associated
Arising from a design brief for an         Texas SouthWestern Director Dr Bill               pavement markings
automated public toilet, a NSW             Greenberg provided an exceptional                 The pathway has a length of more

                        Sep to Oct 2010
                                                                                 PLEASE HELP
    than 3km from Lytton Road to                                                 I am completing studies to become a
    Kingsford Smith Drive                the path – intersections and            registered psychologist and am required
    There are four rest areas            corners feature a banded surface        to complete a small research project. I
    offering shade and views east        treatment to alert users to the         myself have complete paraplegia and
    towards Moreton Bay                  changed conditions                      have always been curious if people
    Access to the path is on both        Use the correct side of the path        cope better if they were to blame for
    the north and south sides of         – pedestrians are to stay on the        their injury.
    the Brisbane River                   eastern side and cyclists to the
    There is a constant grade on         western side of the pathway             The below link will take you to a very
    the cycle path and variable          Pay attention to signage – it will be   short 10 questions to help me assess
    grade (rest landings for             at eye-level and on the path            this hypothesis. Please visit the
    mobility device users) on the        Remember water and sun                  following website. The questionnaire
    pedestrian path                      protection
    There are CCTV cameras,              Advisory speed limit of 10km/h          Thank you!! Brenda Kerr
    help phones, lighting and
    drinking fountains for path      For more information and a map, visit
    users                  ,
    Be careful when entering
                                     ‘Pedestrian and cycle’.

                                                                                    MARION WEBB
                                                                                    Coordinator, Information Service

Emergency REDiPlan –                 equipped if evacuation is determined          Each chapter covers most imaginable
Household preparedness               to be essential. As well, an emergency        possibilities, including checklists,

        mergency Management                                                        and has pages for personal details,
        Queensland (EMQ)             isolated.                                     emergency contact numbers, and
        joined with Australian                                                     to record information for each
Red Cross to develop a booklet       strategy on two fronts — one for you          component of your plan.
for preparedness in emergency        and your household, and reciprocally
situations.                          for your neighbours.                          Red Cross has a series of booklets

The booklet is aimed for people      The booklet can be downloaded from            community, eg, seniors and children.
with disabilities, but in fact the                                                 Booklets are available in Easy English
booklet is for every person — we     au/emq/css/REDiPlan.asp.                      format, so check the following website
each should be prepared for the                                                    for more information, or to download a
unknown, and have plan/s in place
in preparation for the unexpected.                                       
Four main factors form the basis                                                   resources.htm#household_

in your household will know what                                                   Medical Cooling and Heating
to do in an emergency.                                                             Electricity Concession Scheme
                                                                                   A reminder to ensure you claim your
in advance assists emergency                                                       rebate under this new scheme that
situations to be less stressful,                                                   can save you some of the costs of
and assists to limit unnecessary                                                   running your air conditioner. Check
events.                                                                            page 4 for more details.

ensure you are ready and

                                                                                   Sep to Oct 2010
                                                                                   a long way from the ‘horr ble calipers’

POST POLIO NEWS                                                                    indictment – it’s about protecting the
                                                                                   energy you do have.”

                                                                                   He said that most medications to
                                                                                   treat PPS were ‘very disappointing’

   POST POLIO                                                                      and encouraged people with PPS to
                                                                                   minimise their deteriorating function by
                                                                                   pacing themselves.

   AWARENESS WEEK                                                                  “If you know wa king 500 metres to
                                                                                   your favourite coffee shop is going to
                                                                                   wear you out, stop halfway and take a

        ehabilitation physician Dr        Members at Dr De Graaf’s presentation    your coffee much more in the end.”
        Stephen De Graaff visited
        the Association’s Brisbane
                                                                                   Wisdom from Dr De Graaf
 presentation on post polio syndrome
 (PPS), which included information on                                                  People who contracted polio when
 managing the condition and surgical
 options.                                                                              old and experienced a mild form
                                                                                       of the disease are less likely to
 About 50 members attended the                                                         develop PPS
 presentation which was also video-                                                    In the past, people with PPS
 linked to members watching from          Pain Services at Epworth Healthcare          may have been advised to avoid
                                          in Me bourne, explained to members           exercise but ‘sensible’ exercise
 members was universally excellent        the importance of modifying their            can increase strength
 with comments including ‘what a          lifestyle to better cope with PPS.           Some people with PPS have
 knowledgeable person — when is                                                        found Coenzyme Q10 lessens
 he moving to Brisbane?!” and ‘very       “There are no magical cures,” he said.       fatigue. It’s expensive, so Dr De
 pleased and very impressed — he          “We have to adapt and adjust … You           Graaff advises trying it for two
 spoke our language’.                     don’t have to vacuum the house every         months while keeping a diary
                                          day, you don’t have to wash the car          of how you feel. You can buy
 Dr De Graaff, who is the Director of     every week.                                  Coenzyme Q10 from health
                                          “We want quality not quantity.”              Statins (prescribed for high
                                                                                       cholesterol) can increase muscle
                                          He remarked that ‘polio survivors’           weakness. Talk to your doctor
                                          often struggled with adopting this           about the risks.
                                          mindset after a lifetime of pushing
                                          themselves and working hard after
                                          dealing with the challenges of polio.
                                          Dr De Graaff said that while many
                                          people with PPS were reluctant to use
                                          orthotics or wheelchairs, he reminded
                                          them that orthotic devices have come
 Gold Coast post polio group convenor
 Lyn Glover with Dr De Graaf

                                                                                     TO SAY?
                                                                                     If you have a story you’d like to
                                                                                     share with other members, or some
                                                                                     feedback on the magazine, please
                                                                                     don’t keep it to yourself. Email

  20                    Sep to Oct 2010
                                                competition to be the next Australian           MEMBER NETWORK NEWS
FAMILY FUN DAY                                  top model!

An initiative of the Townsville                 The aim of the day was to provide              The day was a highly successful one
Burdekin Member Networks                        people with spinal cord injuries an            and we look forward to organising an
By Cathy Lengyel and Scott Stidson              opportunity to get to know others in a         even bigger and better event later in
                                                social and fun setting, provide them           the year.

        he Family Fun Day was held              with new or different experiences
                                                (ie. a boat ride) and raise broader            We couldn’t have done it without the
       Townsville, after the Townsville/        community awareness of spinal cord             support of our colleagues and local
Burdekin/Bowen Member                                injury.                                   businesses. Thanks go to Ken and
Networks secured funding from                                                                  Joy Turner; Horizon Gourmet Meats,
the Department of Communities.                                                                 Garth, for his cooking skills; Scott and
Approximately 35 people with spinal                                                            Col for their humour and coordination
cord injuries (including post polio                                                            of members and activities; Townsville
syndrome and Transverse Mylitis),                                                              City Council for assistance on the
their friends and family attended the                                                          day; transport services – TOTTS; and
event, and from all reports, had a                                                             Burdekin Centre for Rural Health;
fabulous time!
                                                                                               Bernice Quinn (Member Networks
Member Garth Brimelow and his                                                                  Coordinator) for assistance with
young grandson were assisted by                                                                planning and organising the day.
Association staff with the BBQ. Boat
rides on the Leisure Accessible boat
                                                Scott Stidston (centre) surrounded by          To indicate your interest in a similar
Rosie had everyone clambering                   friends
to be Captain, while the pool and                                                              event, please contact Scott Stidston
accessible playground provided a                                                               (Member Network Facilitator,
great distraction for the younger ones                                                         Townsville/Burdekin/Bowen) on 07
                                                Many in attendance also took the
amongst us.                                     opportunity to visit the Townsville City
                                                                                               Cathy Lengyel (NQ Manager) on 07
                                                Council’s Community Plan display and
The media were present, and judging                                                            4755 1755,
                                                provide feedback as to how they want
by the photos, there was a fair bit of          their community to look into the future.

Member Networks across Queensland
Brisbane                                        Nita Carling T: 07 4045 1009
                                                Email:                Rockhampton
month                                                                                          Meeting: contact facilitator
                                                Gold Coast                                     Des Ryan T: 07 4926 4551;
                                                Meeting: contact facilitator                                0417 775 365 (work)
Robert Montocchio T: 07 3379 4771               Jim Clements T: 07 5522 7172                   Email:
Email: rmontocc@bigpond                  Email:
George Dougherty T: 07 3844 2949                                                               Tablelands
Email:                Mackay                                         Meeting: contact facilitators
                                                Meeting: 1st Friday of the month               Mark Taylor T: 07 4093 3821
Bundaberg                                       Venue: contact facilitator                     Email:
Meeting: 10.30am 1st Tuesday of the month       John Smith T: 07 4942 5445                     Russell Dafforn T: 07 4091 7975
Contact acting facilitator for time and venue   Email:
                                                Alan Elliot T: 07 4954 8646                    Toowoomba
Email:                       Email:                   Meeting: 12pm, Friday following Pension Day
                                                                                               (17 Sep, 15 Oct, 12 Nov, 10 Dec etc)
Burdekin/Bowen                                  Maryborough                                    Venue: contact facilitator
Meeting: contact facilitator                    Meeting: 12 noon, 3rd Wednesday of the month   Wendy Adams T: 07 4637 4160
                                                Venue: Carriers Arms Hotel, Maryborough        Email:
Email: stido@internode.on net                   Brian Willcox T: 07 4121 4358
                                                Email:                Townsville
Far North Queensland                                                                           Meeting: 10:45am (for 11am), last Tuesday of the
(formerly Cairns)                               Moreton Bay (formerly Pine Rivers)             month
Meeting: Last Tuesday of the month.             Meeting: 1pm, 1st Monday of the month          Venue: Spinal Injuries Association,
Contact facilitators for time and venue         Venue: Kallangur Memorial Bowls Club           488 Ross River Road, Townsville
Lynne Barnes T: 07 4055 6675                    Jim and Kay Considine T: 07 3283 8787          Scott Stidston T: 07 4783 1150
Email:                Email:               Email:

                                                                                               Sep to Oct 2010                               21


     Proudly sponsored by Graduate                                                    four days and almost half of all these
     School of Motoring                    best ute; best hot rod; Aitkenvale Auto    injuries are the result of road trauma,”
                                           and Dyno Best Engine Bay; best b ke;       said Scott.“We are proud that motoring

           he Spinal Injuries              people’s choice; judges choice; best       enthusiasts of all ages bring along
           Association’s annual            youth entry (under 21) and ‘sponsors       their pride and joy to join with us in
           Cruise for a Cause will kick    choice’.                                   highlighting the safe motoring and
     off Spinal Injuries Awareness                                                    injury prevention message of Cruise
                                           The Association’s North Queensland         for a Cause.”
     Queensland. This year the major       Manager, Cathy Lengyel, said Cruise
                                           for a Cause was a fun way to raise         The Association thanks the event’s
     Graduate School of Motoring.          awareness of spinal injury and the         major sponsor, Graduate School
     This popular, free event will see     Association in the North Queensland        of Motoring, as well as category
     more than 100 classic vehicles –      community. “We are really excited          sponsors, and the Cruise’s organisers,
     from hot rods and utes to custom      by the great ideas and practical           the North Queensland Supporters
     cars and b kes – gather at Willows    contr butions from our Association         Committee. The Committee is made
                                           Members in this event, and believe it is   up of leading business men and
     the convoy will cruise to Strand      going to be the best yet!” said Cathy.     women in the Townsville community
     Park where the vehicles will remain                                              who are passionate in their support for
     on display until 2pm for the public   Townsville Member Network facilitator      the Association.
     to admire.                            and SEAT presenter Scott Stidston
                                           said he hoped the event would raise        For more information, to sponsor, or
     There will be a BBQ, music and        awareness of the Association and           to register for Cruise for a Cause,
     many displays, including those of     highlight the importance of road safety.   visit
     emergency services vehicles such                                                 cause-2010/, email
                                           “In Queensland, one person will   or call
     Trophies will be awarded for          sustain a spinal cord injury every

      Post polio support groups around Queensland
     Brisbane                                Gold Coast                                Toowoomba

     second month, (June, Aug, Oct)          month                                     month
                                             Contact facilitator for details           Contact facilitators for details

                                                                                       227 Spring St, Toowoomba

     Please contact                          Sunshine Coast                            Townsville

     Coordinator Member Networks             Contact facilitator for details

22                       Sep to Oct 2010
   2010 Dates to remember
12-18 September Disability Action Week
17-23 October       Carers Week
19 October          Carers Day                                                      FREE
November            Spinal Injuries Association Annual General Meeting (date to     operation. Immaculate condition,
                    be confirmed)                                                   works well. Give away. Call Marg 042
2 November          Melbourne Cup lunch, NQ office
8-14 November       Spinal Injuries Awareness Week                                  FOR SALE:
7 November          Cruise for a Cause, Townsville
13 November         3rd Annual Spinal Injuries Association Gala Dinner              each. One half-side rail, $20. One

                                                                                    2.25” deep. Like brand new, $50.

                                                                                    FOR SALE: Holden Crewman Ute

       on’t forget to nominate your Inclusive Community Champions by                with Hand-controls 2006 model VZ
                                                                                    MY06 S, original owner, excellent
                                                                                    condition, only 57,400 kms. Current
            To celebrate the Spinal Injuries Association’s 50th anniversary, our    RWC, colour Odyssey (dark grey), 4
organisation is keen to recognise and celebrate the service providers and           speed automatic. Has Holden tubliner,
facilities who foster a truly inclusive community in the following 13 Member        towbar, soft tonneau cover, seatcovers,

                                                                                    serviced by the local Holden Dealer.
Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Rockhampton,
Mackay, Tablelands, Townsville, Burdekin and Far North Queensland.

                                                                                    FOR SALE: Vitaglide wheelchair
    Best sporting organisation/facility                                             exercise machine for upper body
    Best local business/community service provider
    Best government department or agency                                            virtually any manual wheelchair and
    Best recreation/leisure/entertainment organisation, venue or precinct           most power chairs with foldaway or
    Best tourism or accommodation organisation or provider                          removable arms. System raises or
                                                                                    lowers depending on your needs.
We invite members in those 13 regions to nominate their local Inclusive             System also has intensity from
Community Champions and outline the reasons why they are Champions on               one to seven — one being a good
                                                                                    cardio work out and seven good
                                                                                    for strengthening muscles. Natural
                                                                                    pushing and pulling motions. One year
Each category winner will be named the Inclusive Community Champion for their       old, still like new. I paid $2,200 AUD
region and will be recognised at a morning tea in November, to celebrate Spinal     from the US, sell for $1,500 ono. Ph

A full list of the winners will be included in the November-December issue of the   FOR SALE: Quickie R2 in very good
advocate.                                                                           condition. Purchased through Sunrise
                                                                                    Medical. Willing to sell with wheels

                                                                                    Fits cushion sizes 16 x 16 inches and
                                                                                    17 x 17 inches as I use both sizes
                                                                                    on it now. Purple/black splash frame

                                                                                    included. Call Asti 041 4417466

                                                                                    FOR SALE:
                                                                                    campervan. Exc condition. Hand
                                                                                    controls. Engine recon. 4 spd auto.
                                                                                    Rear wheelchair hoist plus driver’s side
                                                                                    access hoist. Solar panels. Vacuum
                                                                                    toilet. Shower. Flat screen TV.

                                                                                    Ideal for active person with paraplegia.

                                                                                    Sep to Oct 2010                        23
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