The life-changing events of Bridget Smith and Brett Cuylenburg’s lives have only made the married couple stronger and more determined to be healthy and happy.
More than 20 years ago Bridget was hit by a truck; as a result her leg was amputated and she spent six months in hospital rehabilitating and learning to adapt to her new life.
Then in 2008, husband Brett’s love of science and experimenting with chemicals and explosions saw an experiment go wrong; Brett lost two fingers and thumb on his right hand as well as his left eye, and vision in his right eye.
With limited supports available to the couple over the years, they are now living happier and more fulfilled lives since accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) last year.
With NDIS funding Bridget now uses a wet leg – a waterproof prosthetic leg – to spend more time at the beach and in the surf.
“I have had a waterproof leg before which I had to pay for, but I only wore a few times in the water as it wasn’t great. Now with my new wet leg I have worn it into the water at Noosa Heads.
“I want to be in the surf more and can’t wait to do this more often,” Bridget said.
Bridget can also be found in the water and keeping fit at water aerobics at her local pool.
Fitness also plays an important part in Brett’s life as he now accesses NDIS supports to attend gym twice a week for two and a half hours at a time.
Brett also trains at home on weights and enjoys going on walks by himself with a cane around the neighbourhood.
“I notice a massive difference in my mental and emotional state if I don’t exercise. Before the NDIS Bridget had to take me to the gym or walk with me; now I have more independence. It is amazingly good for my self-esteem to be able to go for a walk by myself,” Brett said.
Both are also getting healthier and eating better thanks to a support worker helping them choose healthy food options and cooking nutritious meals.
“Our support worker Lucy helps with our shopping, house work, and cooking. It takes a load off my mind getting this help; she cheers me up and helps me relax,” Bridget said.
Bridget and Brett received assistance to apply for and implement their NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region.
The couple said they are looking forward to their future.
Currently Brett volunteers in peer support at Vision Australia and is considering retraining for the workforce and becoming a counsellor to help people with addiction.
Bridget enjoys working with beads, painting abstracts and colouring in, and is looking at selling her art works locally.
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 also help you identify and link to options in your community.
To find out more about how the NDIS and Local Area Coordination program can work for you, visit Carer’s Queensland NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the
Brisbane region at Garden City Office, Building 20, Level 1, 2404 Logan Road, Eight Mile Plains or call 3719 9600.
You can also contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or email@example.com