Special suit gives Max giant strides
Young Max Shearman – he’s just six years old – is now making some giant strides.
For most youngsters of that age walking 50 steps unassisted is small fry but for Max, who has cerebral palsy, and his parents Mick and Clare it was something that seemed out of reach only a few months ago.
The big steps are thanks to a TheraSuit Max wears and intensive therapy sessions.
Mick, a policeman on the Mornington Peninsula, and Claire, both originally from Warragul, have been amazed by the progress. But it hasn’t come cheaply. Mick’s father Max, who still lives in Warragul, said it costs $30,000 a year to use the suit and undergo the therapy.
A registered charity, “Max on a Mission”, has been established and a Facebook site of that name created to raise funds to enable 14 other children to undergo the treatment for 12 months.
The idea is to prove to government that the special suits and intensive therapy work.
The charity has set a target of $450,000 to enable 15 children to have the treatment as a trial monitored by Monash University and establish that ongoing treatment should be funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). However, as Max senior points out, the treatment needs to continue until the children have finished growing in about their late teens.
Through a number of fund-raisers and philanthropic donations about $100,000 has been contributed to date towards the cost of the trial.
In just a matter of months the horizons of young Max’s capabilities have opened enormously.
He can now ride a bike and last month amazingly accompanied his father on a trek of the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea.
It was as big a test for father Mike as it probably was for Max.
For eight days Mike carried Max in a modified “armchair backpack” as well as the special mobility aid Max uses to get around.
They walked as part of an organised tour group with some of the highlights for Max being playing with children at villages where they stopped along the way.
There are many challenges still ahead for Max and other children with cerebral palsy but if they can get the treatment Max is undergoing covered by the NDIS they’ll be much better placed to cope with or conquer them.
To help fund the TheraSuit trial text MAX to 0437 371 371 and follow the prompts.