Generosity buys freedom
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THIS time last year Andrew Hayman was recovering from yet another operation for his brittle bone disease.
But this year, thanks to support from the local community, Andrew has come ahead in leaps and bounds and will get an electronic wheelchair early next year.
Andrew's story first came to the attention of The Observer, when it heard Andrew's step-dad Brad Long was desperately trying to raise funds for a new chair.
Within three days, local businesses and community members had begun raising funds for him. The money raised now totals more than $20,000.
Brad said he was overjoyed by the region's response to Andrew's plight.
"It's just great that the whole community gets behind someone who needs help,'' Brad said.
"It really binds people to-gether.''
He said the new wheelchair would provide Andrew with the independence he missed out on this year after growing too big for his former wheelchair.
Andrew said he could not believe how much support he received.
He said he was now considered "famous'' by his siblings.
"The first thing I'm going to do when I get the new chair is probably do a few laps around the house and see how fast I can go,'' Andrew said.
He said he would begin high school at Tannum Sands next year and was looking forward to moving around on his own.
Reef City Ford Gladstone dealer principal Greg Klease, who helped raise funds for the cause, said he was "extremely proud to live in the Gladstone-Calliope region'' which had shown such great support for Andrew's cause.
"I'm very proud of the business people in this community for supporting issues like this,'' he said.