Free­dom for Fin­lay a do­na­tion away

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SARAH AR­GYLE

You can spot the frus­tra­tion on Fin­lay Butcher’s face when he can’t see his brother and sis­ter play­ing.

The 9-year-old has cere­bral palsy and can’t talk.

In­stead he com­mu­ni­cates through his eyes, body lan­guage and smiles.

Se­vere cere­bral palsy af­fects Fin­lay’s move­ment, pos­ture and leaves him wheel­chair-bound.

Mum Kimberly Gra­ham says it’s easy to see when her son is bored, sad, frus­trated or un­com­fort­able.

‘‘He moans and from time to time he cries.

‘‘He hears his sib­lings laugh­ter and watches their fun. My heart goes out to him.’’

Fin­lay’s up­graded wheel­chair is heavy and it’s im­pos­si­ble to lift it where he can keep up with his ac­tive sib­lings Rosie, 7, and Lachie, 3.

He can no longer ac­cess the beach ei­ther – some­where he loves to go.

The fam­ily fundrais­ing for an ter­rain wheel­chair Fin­lay doesn’t get be­hind.

Gra­ham says it’s hard enough for chil­dren with spe­cial needs to be in­cluded in typ­i­cal peer ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘It makes it even harder for chil­dren with se­vere com­plex dis­abil­i­ties – chil­dren who are un­able to com­mu­ni­cate, walk or use their hands ef­fec­tively.’’

She says the free­dom of an all ter­rain wheel­chair would be im­mense for Fin­lay.

‘‘It would al­low Fin­lay to ac­cess the beach, bush walks, lo­cal swimming pools, sea and even the snow.

‘‘I want to make sure that I in­volve Fin­lay in as many fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties as I can. I don’t want his brother and sis­ter to grow up feel­ing that he can’t be in­cluded in most things. I don’t want them to re­sent Fin­lay for our lack of spon­tane­ity.’’

Fin­lay’s favourite pas­time is get­ting out and about, Gra­ham says.

‘‘He doesn’t like be­ing cooped up in the house. He loves the out­doors and float­ing in the wa­ter as it helps him re­lax.’’

Rosie knows ex­actly how to make Fin­lay smile when he’s up­set.

She goes to her brother’s wheel­chair and gen­tly sings in his ear to put him at ease.

Rosie says she finds it sad her brother can’t play with her.

‘‘I think he wishes he could just come and play with us some times.’’

Gra­ham es­ti­mates the all ter­rain wheel­chair will cost about $5000.

is all

so left

Pho­tos: SARAH AR­GYLE

Left be­hind: Kimberly Gra­ham, back, doesn’t want her son Fin­lay, 9, pic­tured in wheel­chair, to get left be­hind. Sis­ter Rosie, 7, and brother Lachie, 3, are also pic­tured.

Lit­tle helper: When Fin­lay, 9, is sad his sis­ter Rosie, 7, knows ex­actly how to cheer him up.

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