Making life easier for Christine

Travelling home from a Mixed Open Golf Day in the country in 1984, Christine had a car accident, resulting in her becoming quadriplegic. At the time she was 28 years old with two daughters, Penny, seven, and Peta, five.

Christine recently contacted Automobility, to help make her life easier. Previously, she had been able to transfer into a standard vehicle with hand controls, but now her situation had changed, and she needed a drive from wheelchair vehicle to help her get back her independence, and to allow a new chapter in her life to begin.

After meeting with us in January 2017, we gave Christine the help and guidance that she needed, and started her on our process, which involves:

Christine was looking for independence after the delivery of her new drive from wheelchair Volkswagen Caravelle.

Christine was looking for independence after the delivery of her new drive from wheelchair Volkswagen Caravelle.

  • Discussing Christine’s mobility and medical needs
  • Understanding the requirements for the vehicle, including comfortability, space, access, height measurements and her required level of usage
  • A free test drive to help Christine ensure she was comfortable in the vehicle
  • Then our engineering team took over the modification, to build Christine’s tailored vehicle
  • Final checks and adjustments were then completed
  • Finally, we personally delivered the vehicle, from our workshop in Melbourne to Christine’s home in Perth
  • Extra features were also added, such as a voice control unit and one touch cruise control
  • High-level after-sales service and support, ensuring Christine always had the advice, communication and partnership she needed, along with us servicing and repairing her vehicle, when needed

You can read more about our full process here.

The Great Australian Bight on the way to deliver Christine’s vehicle.

The Great Australian Bight on the way to deliver Christine’s vehicle.

The timeframe for which the vehicle conversion was to be completed was important to Christine. Conversion started in March 2017, and Christine was overwhelmed and overjoyed to have her new vehicle delivered to Perth, on schedule by the 26th June. Two from our team even travelled to Perth to ensure Christine was happy, and to make the final required adjustments to her new wheelchair access, self-drive vehicle.

Take a look at the video below of our journey to deliver Christine’s new vehicle, and have a read of her story below.

Christine’s story:

I became a quadriplegic (C5, C6, C7) in 1984 after an accident, and another chapter then started for my family and me. I was 28 years old with two young daughters at the time – Penny, seven, and Peta, five.

After seven months in rehab, I was discharged in March 1985, and in September that year, I regained my driver’s licence. I have always loved driving, and since my accident, driving has given me my only sense of independence.

I started with a manual wheelchair, so a sliding board was essential for getting in and out of my car. After many years of doing this, my shoulders needed repairing due to ligament damage through pushing my chair, so I then upgraded to an electric chair, which I still have to this day. This new chair required a lot more handling, as at first the 20kg battery had to be lifted out, and the chair folded in a frame. This created a lot of work for my family and friends. Eventually, I found a frame for the entire chair to be put on. Continual transfers resulted in developing a very sore neck as I was getting in and out for regular trips to Perth, and it has since taken its toll on my family and friends too.

I was at the end of my tether and needed a vehicle that assisted my independence and integrated with everyone’s lifestyle, and so my investigation into a self-drive van began. After extensive research and inquiries with two companies, I chose Automobility after speaking personally with Jeff. Their care, values and experience really stood out to me.

Christine was ecstatic to finally be more independent and give her family and friends some relief.

Christine was ecstatic to finally be more independent and give her family and friends some relief.

We flew over to meet Jeff and his team in January this year to view and discuss the different models of vehicles that were available to me. So many aspects needed to be covered; space for access, comfort levels, measurement for under the steering wheel, passenger seats, and many more details, but – most essentially – the timeframe in which a vehicle could be completed and delivered to me.

After gaining plenty of advice from the Automobility team, I decided on a VW Caravelle wheelchair conversion, and the order was placed. Work on the wheelchair conversion started in March, and after one final visit in May to confirm all the measurements were correct, I had my vehicle delivered to me, in Perth by June 26th – right on the due completion date. Jeff and Brendan also came over to ensure that any final adjustments that needed to be made were completed to suit my needs. They also added voice control for activating indicators and windscreen wipers, and later a one touch cruise control button was added.

It has been a big adjustment for me as there was a lot of information for me to understand, but everything has gone great with practice, and the team at Automobility helped me with everything along the way. Communication with the team has been incredible.

This has enabled my granddaughter and I to easily and regularly go to the movies and shopping, and it has ended the stress, and wear and tear on my daughters and friends. It’s wonderful!

I have always tried to be an independent person, and now at 61 years old, I feel a new stage of my life has begun. Everything has gone smoothly from start to finish with Automobility, and I highly recommend their products and services, either for personal use or a passenger vehicle.

Sometimes we can make do with things in our life, but to have things made so much easier is wonderful! Now I don’t think twice on doing things, I just lower the ramp, get into driving position and off we go…

If you enjoyed this blog, you may like to read about Casey’s story here.

Call 1800 662 454, or contact us online for an obligation-free vehicle demonstration.

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