For the past two years at either end of the school holidays Nick Blacket always has a stretch and power nap on a park bench at Moonie Crossroads in south west Queensland. Nick, his mum Alison and two brothers Loxlee and Jock travel the 500 km plus of road from Brisbane in the school holidays to return to their father David and family home at St George. The park bench at Moonie is under a tree, exposed to the sun and wind but is a welcome wheelchair break for Nick’s nine hour car trip. It is literally part of the long road that Nick has taken in his seventeen years of life with Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome.
Nick arrived in the world on St Georges Day, April 23 1995. After four months of life he was finally diagnosed with WHS. A decade of severe seizure activity until he was almost twelve made learning, travelling and life in general a constant challenge. Nick and his family lived with the triple pressures of being in the bush , having a disability and his frequent illnesses.
In 2010 Nick’s mum Alison made the difficult decision to relocate during school terms to Brisbane so Nick could attend Narbethong Special State School. Narbethong offers specialised education to visually and intellectually impaired children who often have physical impairments as well. Nick who is legally blind, cannot talk, is in a wheelchair, and needs help with everything he does, has ‘come alive’ since he started there. For Nick it is making the world of difference. Things like being able to swim in a heated pool, to see a therapist the next day without waiting for six months and having wonderful experienced teachers have helped Nick to become more alert and be a part of life. To even sometimes start to raise his eyebrows to indicate yes is a big step from where he was five years ago.
Nick has a love of people, of music, of participation. He thrives on someone stopping to talk with him when he is out shopping. He loves listening to his brothers talking about their soccer or rugby game, or catching up with his dad on some weekends and holidays. Things that make Nick laugh – Uncle Scott’s whistling, guitar music, bagpipes, mum rousing on Jock (Nick’s brother), going home to St George for the holidays and going to school at Narbethong. He can only do these things with the help of others. He’d love your help to be able to do so much more and maybe discover a few more parks elsewhere!!