Local Lions help boost Eleanor's confidence

HELPING HAND: John Lynch and Nancy Casson from Lismore City Lions Club with the Holland family, Rod, Eleanor, Becky and Tobias.
HELPING HAND: John Lynch and Nancy Casson from Lismore City Lions Club with the Holland family, Rod, Eleanor, Becky and Tobias. Marnie Johnston

ELEANOR Holland used to be a painfully shy young girl, but now, thanks to the generosity of local people, she's been able to gain confidence, and open up her beautiful smile to the world.

East Lismore girl Eleanor, 4, was born with an array of conditions - Spina Bifida, Arnold Chari II Malformation, Syringomyelia, and Hydrocephalus, just to name a few - and needs a special wheelchair to help her around.

Just recently, thanks to the fundraising of local people and a $7030 donation from the Lismore City Lions Club, have been able to purchase a new motorized wheelchair for Eleanor.

Eleanor's parents, Rodney and Becky Holland, said they were so thankful to the Lions Club and those who donated for helping them get this much-needed piece of equipment for their daughter.

The wheelchair has two controls - one for a carer and one for Eleanor herself - allowing for more independence. 

The newfound independence that has come with having the new wheelchair has sparked a huge change in Eleanor, her parents said.

"She's much more confident now - when we got out she'll talk to people," Mrs Holland said.

Eleanor used to hide and cover her face in public, but now she loves meeting new people and making friends, Mrs Holland said.

Eleanor's life has improved in other areas thanks to this new confidence too: In her speech therapy, physical therapy, and music group, she is just "so different," Mrs Holland said.

"It was just so amazing to see the change in her social skills and interacting with other kids," Mrs Holland said.
In a twist, recently some scans revealed Eleanor's scoliosis was much worse than earlier believed - and the seating that the wheelchair happens to have is the exact type she needs to help that physical condition, Mr Holland said.

"It's exactly what she needed," Mr Holland said.

Learning how to use the motorized wheelchair has been a journey for Eleanor, her parents, and brother Tobias, 1, and recently the family took their first family holiday to Coffs Harbour and Armidale with the wheelchair which acted as a learning curve for all of them.

"We all had a magical time of relaxation, fun and learning how to manoeuvre the power wheel chair," Mrs Holland said.

The next step is for the Holland family to fundraise for a wheelchair hoist for their car, to make transportation of the wheelchair easier.

To follow the family's journey, or to support them, head to http://www.myfaithinmyadventure.blogspot.com.au



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