Tony Leggett: President
I moved to Brisbane six years ago and a friend who occasionally used MACS recommended the service to me. He spoke very highly of the service, although I have to admit I was at first confused about who on earth this “Max” fellow was! I was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) to discover a service that would let you negotiate a different time so you could actually have a social life beyond dinnertime. I was even more shocked to discover MACS had an after-hours number that was (gasp!) answered by a real person.
My previous service provider’s concept of “choice” was I could choose to be assisted at 9pm (or whatever time they decreed) or spend the night in my wheelchair. Occasionally, just as a treat, sloppy coordinating would mean I got to do the latter as their concept of after-hours service was an answering machine. Needless to say I took to MACS like a duck to water.
I initially used MACS on an occasional basis and then moved to using it every night after the arrival of my daughter nearly four years ago. Somewhere along the way I was approached about joining the management committee and before I knew it, I’d wound up becoming President. I imagine it was a little bit like Lyndon Johnson, minus the grassy knoll!
Prior to Brisbane I worked in Sydney as a peer support officer for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and many years ago was a board member of ParaQuad NSW. I also have an Arts degree (which supposedly means I can spell) but enough blowing my own trumpet.
MACS is an organisation that I strongly believe in and one of its strengths is its service-user driven focus and management committee. I encourage anyone using the service to consider joining the management committee as a way both to “give something back” and to ensure the organisation strives to maintain its ethos of empowering people with disabilities.
Vaughan Bedford: Committee member
Hi all, After a motorbike accident back in September 2006 soon after leaving the hospital in mid 2007 I moved to Keperra from the south side with my family. With the move Anthea Wood whom I’m sure you all know commenced working with me as a personal carer. Anthea told me all about MACS and joined as a member but wasn’t until January 2008 after a change in circumstances, that I really appreciated what MACS do.
MACS gave me the flexibility and independence to live as a single father with my 2 kids. I used MACS Friday and Saturday nights to go to bed on a flexible call in time (at times in the very early hours of the morning!)
I think it was the 2008 AGM that I was persuaded by some of the attendants to elect to be a member on the board. It has been a good experience being part of the board and learning that MACS is a totally service user driven committee and constitution. I would like to see a few more members join the fun of being a committee member and support the service to survive and grow.
Narelle Bartley: Committee member
My name is Narelle Bartley and I am a 55 year old Newcastle born Queenslander.
Just before I turned 4 I was struck by a catastrophic illness, polio, which left me with substantial physical disability which has worsened over the last 20 years due to “the late effects of polio”.
My primary school years were spent mainly at Montrose Home, a residential and schooling facility for children with various levels of disability. I have no further educational qualifications except what I’ve learned at the “school of life” and from those universal teachers – books and the television.
Orphaned by 21 (awwwww), I came to the good side of town i.e. the north side to live in Wheelie One, a Paraplegic Welfare Association (now Spinal Injuries Association) purpose built house for five physically disabled young adults at Ascot. This was my first exposure to being assisted by support workers in an independent life style.
In 1983 I joined the public service and was employed full time for the first time in my life. This, together with 8 years of living and learning at Wheelie One, enabled me to purchase a home unit in Windsor. By this time I was working at Chermside and in 1995 I sold my Windsor unit and bought another in Kedron where I currently live.
By 1999 I was invalided out of the public service due to those “the late effects of polio” and have been a professional bludger ever since!
Having been involved with MACS from its beginning and having been a service user since about 2003 I believe that MACS is one of the most relevant and important organisations that exist, probably in the world, to assist people with disabilities to live truly independent lives in the community, lives that can include community and social access primarily due to its existence and its track record of exceptional management and dedicated staff (admin and support workers all!).
It remains my duty and my pleasure to assist in my small way and to be assisted by MACS.