Lowood community gives brave young boy a lift

FIGHTER: Community groups and businesses in Lowood helped to fund a new van that will do a world of good for Jackie and Justin Schmidt.
FIGHTER: Community groups and businesses in Lowood helped to fund a new van that will do a world of good for Jackie and Justin Schmidt. Lachlan McIvor

THINGS are able to run a little bit smoother for young Justin Schmidt and his family, thanks to the generosity of the Lowood community and surrounds.

The nine-year-old was born with tuberous sclerosis, a rare disease that caused him to have a brain malformation and benign tumours in his brain and other organs.

He has had five separate brain surgeries to alleviate seizures and his condition has led him to suffer from cerebral palsy, vision loss and many other challenges.

Money raised by local community groups, combined with donations from businesses, donation tins and an online fundraising campaign, have helped the family acquire a new vehicle better suited for Justin and his wheelchair.

They are still waiting on funding from the NDIS to modify the van in order to easily get Justin in-and-out but the new wheels are already making a big difference.

"It's awesome having the car because we've got so much extra room to put his new wheelchair," mum Jackie said.

"I think the modification will be a huge help once we get it, it will make everything so much easier."

Mrs Schmidt was grateful for the way the community had given them a helping hand in their time of need, which had come from all angles.

Community groups held barbecues and raffles that the family weren't even aware of to help raise money for the cause.

"It's unbelievable how much help is out there," she said.

"We weren't even aware of how much was going on behind the scenes."

Justin continues to take each day at Ipswich Special School with a giant smile on his face and the acquisition of his first wheelchair in the middle of 2017 has given him a bit more freedom.

"He continues to make progress physically, gaining more core strength and stability," Mrs Schmidt said.

"He's actually now able to sit up himself in bed with the help of his bed rails... so we go in there and he's sitting up, he's only started doing that in the last couple of months.

"He uses (his new wheelchair) to go to school tied down in a taxi and he loves it because he's got his own wheels and some more independence.

"He's still as cheeky as ever."

The Schmidts would like to thank the following community groups for their support:

The Benevolent Society, the Lowood Slimmers, the Lowood Lions, the Laidley Lions, the Fernvale Womens Group, the Glamorgan Vale CWA, the Lowood Ambulance and the Fernvale Lions.

They also would like to give a heartfelt thanks to the local businesses who made donations and those that helped with donation tins on their counters, as well as individuals that made contributions to the cause.

If you would like to make a donation towards the modified car for Justin visit:

Topics:  fundraiser justin schmidt lowood

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