My name is Sonya Marris and I have lived with barriers since birth because I have Cerebral Palsy. I also suffered two strokes five years ago.
Last year I come across some pamphlets advertising Nga Kete. I asked for my files to be sent over and I became a patient at He Puna Waiora doctor’s service, and the same day I self-referred to the Disability Service. I have been a client ever since.
I am unable to work, but Sandra Stiles helped me to set up automatic payments from my invalids benefit to keep my finances in order. I am unable to walk properly, but Sandra helped me to get access to a walking stick, which has made it so much easier to stand up and walk and to get in and out of the shower. I am unable to stop shaking and recently burnt myself with a jug when I was pouring coffee. Sandra gave me access to a jug holder so I can pour hot water without spilling it.
I am unable to understand some things and I get flustered, confused and upset. But Sandra takes me to hospital appointments and supports me to understand health literacy.
I am unable to eat properly because of my shaking. But Sandra arranged a large fork and spoon that I can hold and Velcro to my hands. It’s been a huge help because I no longer drop food everywhere. Sandra also got me blocks for my chair.
Sandra makes me feel safe and supported. It’s comforting to know she’s there if I need anything and I can always call her. We often talk about things and work out solutions. I have more independence now.
I am also lucky to have received support from Dee Curwood, of the Mauri Ora Mobile Nursing Service, who visits me at home. I also go and see her at her monthly clinic in Glengarry and if required she will take me to the doctor.
I also have the support of a care worker who looks after me and cooks my weekly meals, and my nephew who lives with me and completes tasks around the house.
I am so excited that I am able to work on my hobby of knitting toys which I have been doing since I was 10-years-old. I love it and I can do it without looking. It’s also really good exercise for my hands.
For more information about our Disability Service free phone 0800 925 242 or visit us at 92 Spey Street, Level 2, Invercargill.