SUCCESS: 'Barrow boy' Angus finally has new $26k chair
ANGUS Hopkins' days of using a wheelbarrow to move around his family property are over.
The nine-year-old Nobby boy with cerebral palsy, who captured the attention of the nation a few months earlier, has finally been given a new motorised wheelchair by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Friends and loved ones wept on Sunday as Angus was fitted into the $26,000 machine, which will allow him to move independently and live closer to the life his friends at school take for granted.
Mother Jody Ezzy said her son was speechless throughout the day.
"It's just such a huge difference - he's a completely different child," she said.
"He couldn't talk - just the look on his face said it all. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
"The relief on his face was the biggest thing. The battle was over."
Angus made national headlines in April when The Chronicle revealed he might have to wait up to two more years for a motorised wheelchair through the NDIS to replace the manual chair he had completely outgrown.
Ms Ezzy would instead pull him around in a wheelbarrow, because it was safer than using his current chair.
After several days of sharp criticism from across the country, the National Disability Insurance Agency informed the family it had approved the new chair.
Ms Ezzy said while she was happy for her son, the ordeal had exposed some of the systemic issues with the NDIS.
"It was so sad that it took a media storm to get this done," she said.
"It comes back to allowing people to live their lives the way they want to and need to.
"I think everyone can learn a lesson from Angus' story and the whole situation."
Ms Ezzy argued the NDIS needed to put more faith in the recommendations of clinical advice, saying the family faced several unnecessary road blocks to access a wheelchair that would profoundly improve Angus' life.
"The NDIS needs a lot more clinical advice within their system. They're not believing what a therapist says," she said.
"They have no idea about what these items mean to a person's life.
"I know they're doing work on it, but I think there's a lot more to be done."
Ms Ezzy has started work developing a not-for-profit organisation to help people navigate the NDIS and find short-term mobility solutions.
But for the moment, she's just happy to watch her son revel in his well-earned independence.
"We were sitting together yesterday, and Gus decided he wanted a drink, so he went over to the car to get his water bottle," she said.
"Two days ago, he would've had to ask someone to get him that.
"Unless you live it, you don't fully understand (what that means)."