Wayne-Carey brings joy, love and laughter to the Farmer family every day, says his mother Kathleen.
“He is always happy,” she said. “As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he’s smiling and he’s always trying to talk. He’s a delight.”
Wayne-Carey, four, has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk, talk or consume food orally. His diet comprises a special milk formula and he is fed through a tube.
Kathleen said Wayne-Carey was an ABC television fan and particularly loved watching Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, Playschool and the Wiggles.
As Wayne-Carey is unable to talk, he communicates with facial expressions.
“He drops his lip when he is unhappy,” Kathleen said. “So if he’s watching a television program that he loves and someone tries to turn it over, he’ll drop his lip.
“If I’m buying a shirt for him, I’ll hold up two shirts and show him. He’ll stare and smile at the one he wants.
“It’s the same with toys. He also blinks to communicate.”
Wayne-Carey enjoys going to the park, swimming and shopping with his mother.
Kathleen, 33, not only cares for her six children but is also a support to her husband Ken, 40, who is unwell.
Ken, who was a fly-in fly-out worker on a mine in the State’s north, had a heart attack about a year ago.
He was placed in a coma for four months. When he awoke he didn’t know who Kathleen or their children were. He is now waiting for a donor heart.
She said she is constantly busy and doesn’t have any time to herself. However, Wayne-Carey helps her cope during difficult days.
“When I’m having a difficult day, I just grab him and cuddle him . . . and I say to myself, here he is sick and he still has a smile on his face,” Kathleen said.
Wayne-Carey is rarely alone and his five older siblings keep him entertained.
“They sing to him, play with his toys with him, dance for him, sit on the couch with him, take him outside in his wheelchair and involve him in their ball games. They all love him,” Kathleen said.
Having a reliable vehicle is important for the Farmer family so they can transport Wayne-Carey to medical appointments and family outings.
Until they received a van from Wheels for Hope in March this year, the Rivervale family of eight had to travel in separate cars.
Family holidays were out of the question and Kathleen had back problems from lifting her son in and out of the family’s old car.
Now the whole family can travel in comfort. Kathleen said the vehicle was a blessing.
“Since we’ve had the van, we’ve been on three family holidays. The last time, I rented a cottage by the sea,” she said.
“I have to take Wayne-Carey to a lot of medical appointments and because the van has a hoist to help me get my son in and out of the van it has helped me a lot physically.”
Kathleen said her family was eternally grateful to Wheels for Hope for being given the vehicle.
She said the vehicle had been invaluable for caring for Ken as well: “He relies on me to drive him everywhere as he is waiting for a transplant,” she said.
Wheels for Hope insures, licenses, services and maintains the vehicles in its fleet of wheelchair hoist vans, which are loaned to eligible families.
The four- year-old was named after the former Australian Rules player Wayne Carey, who played for the Kangaroos.
Kathleen, said her husband was a North Melbourne fan and insisted the little boy be named Wayne-Carey.