Madonna O’Brien continues to provide care and support in her work as a wildlife carer thanks to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
For more than 25 years, Madonna – who has spina bifida – has looked after hundreds of marsupials; from possums to gliders, wallabies and kangaroos.
Since accessing the NDIS in 2019, Madonna’s support worker has been assisting her to complete this important role.
“My support worker helps me clean out the cages, will pick up the animals for me when I get a call out for a rescue and will take them to the vet for me if I can’t get there,” she said.
“He also does some shopping for me too for the fruit and vegetables for the animals and feeds the babies their milk; it makes a big difference having a support worker do this for me.”
Madonna uses a 4-wheel-drive wheelchair to enable her to easily get around her rural property.
“I can access my mailbox up the road without having to walk or drive,” she said.
“With a manual wheelchair, you can only go certain places – now it will be easier to get out on walks to national parks with my husband, like to Girraween, Mount Archer, Mt Mee and Mary Cairncross.”
Madonna also accesses other NDIS supports, including occupational therapy, a cleaner and home modifications.
Madonna received assistance to apply for and implement her NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region.
She said her Local Area Coordinator (LAC), Kimberley, helped her to develop her goals of maintaining her independence and continuing as an active member of her community.
“I have worked all my life and was a teacher for 21 years – I am retired now; I always paid for everything myself so I didn’t have any help at all,” she said.
“The NDIS has been an absolute god send; to not have to pay for everything out of my own pocket now is fantastic.”
Carers Queensland can support you to find out more about the NDIS, to apply for funding and to help you get started with the NDIS.
If you have a disability but are not eligible for the NDIS, Carers Queensland can help you identify and link to options for support in your community.
You can also contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or firstname.lastname@example.org