Community raising funds for Newtownabbey teen’s wheelchair

Residents across Newtownabbey are generously backing a fundraising effort to purchase a “life-changing piece of equipment” for a teenage girl with Cerebral Palsy.

Jodie Gourley (17) cannot sit or stand unaided and is unable to walk.

The Monkstown resident has aspirations to go to university in the future, but the powered wheelchair she is currently in prohibits her from doing a lot of things. She also gets very uncomfortable sitting in the same position all day.

Commenting on her situation, a family spokesperson said: “Jodie recently trialled a new ‘Sit to Stand’ wheelchair which is motorised to raise her from a sitting position right up into a standing position.

Jodie Gourley.

“This gives her a lot more ability to do every day tasks as well as giving her body a good stretch. The chair also lies back and it drives in any position.

“Unfortunately, it comes with a very hefty price tag of £27,929 which seems unreachable, but jodie is hoping if everyone could help her out with a small donation then anything is possible.”

An online fundraising page has been established in a bid to collect money to enable Jodie to purchase a ‘Sit to Stand’ wheelchair.

The popular teen has volunteered at Monkstown Boxing Club for four years.

Jodie trying the chair which she hopes to use at university.

Urging the community to back the fundaising effort for Jodie, the lead youth worker at the Cashel Drive sports club, Amy Stewart, said: “Jodie is an exceptional young woman and ambassador for Monkstown Boxing Club and the Disability Community.

“Jodie’s attitude to life is so refreshing, always focusing on the positives and determined to face new challenges head on.

“Jodie is a young leader in Monkstown Boxing Club and in her four years has educated, not only the young people, but also the staff team on inclusion and disability.

“Jodie has broken the mould and has showed others with disabilities, that anything is possible with the right support and determination, trying her hand at ziplining and water skiing.

“The sit to stand wheelchair would be a life-changing piece of equipment for Jodie, enhancing her independance and her dream of studying Community Youth Work in university.

“A task as simple as making a cup of tea is something Jodie needs to rely on others for, the tasks we take for granted daily.

“We ask our amazing community to get behind this worthy cause and help change a local young woman’s life, who will in return, change the lives and break the mould for future generations.”

Jodie has recently started studying for her GCSEs at Abbey Community College.

Praising Jodie for her commitment to her studies, Principal of the Bridge Road school, Mrs Maria Quinn said: “Jodie’s transition to Abbey Community College has proved to be a major success. All of her teachers are delighted with her determination and attitude to succeed and this is reflected in her excellent grades to date.

“Jodie is a popular member of our Year 12 group with a great sense of humour and she is looking forward to continuing her studies in Sixth Form. Jodie is the embodiment of our school motto ‘Believe, Achieve, Succeed’ and a very significant role model for others.

“Work is currently underway to install a lift on the school premises so that Jodie will have free access to all areas, this will also benefit other students into the future.”

At the time of going to print, £6,000 has been raised for Jodie’s new wheelchair.

If you would like to make a donation, click here

In November the Newtownabbey Times reported that residents in north Belfast and Newtownabbey were rallying round the family of a young White City girl in an effort to raise funds for an all-terrain wheelchair.

For more on this generous effort for Megan Mehaffy, read here

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