Locals fundraise for Lawlor family

Terry and Alison Lawlor with their daughters Katie and Elise.

Terry and Alison Lawlor with their daughters Katie and Elise.

In a motorised wheelchair due to a degenerative condition, going out for dinner or visiting community events can be difficult for Terry Lawlor and his family. 

“If the kids have got something on at school and the maxi taxi isn’t available, which is quite often the case, Terry has to stay home,” friend Dallas Wilson said.

“He’s missing out on all the things the kids do.”

Dallas is one of a group of locals appealing to the community in the hopes of making life a little easier for the Lawlor family. The group are looking to raise around $70,000 to purchase a van, able to accommodate the wheelchair and lifting gear, for the family. 

“What do you say when people are willing to go out of their way for you?” Terry asked. He said it was overwhelming and humbling to see his friends and loved ones step up for him. 

“I just don’t have the words to explain how happy and grateful (I am). I’m sure there’s 1000 different words I should be using, but I don’t have them at my disposal right now,” Terry said. 

He said a van would increase his independence and ability to attend vital medical appointments.

“It will have an extraordinary effect on our lives to be able to build our family memories and outings and our futures,” he said.

“We can build our dreams and make memories with the kiddies while they’re at that age and I’m still able to.”

The Terry Lawlor Vehicle Fund have planned a number of events to raise the funds including a fashion show, band jam and car and motorbike rally. 

The first fundraiser is a raffle, with first prize a sapphire pendant with diamonds and matching studs while a jewellery box is the second prize. Tickets are $2 and can be purchased at the BEST Community Shed, where the jewellery can also be viewed. 

The group are also seeking donations of gifts that can be auctioned off at a later date or used as lucky door prizes in events. Cash is also welcome. To donate, see Peter Caddey at Inverell Tourism. 

Terry has inclusion body myopathy with early-onset Paget disease and frontotemporal dementia, also known as IBMPFD. It is a rare degenerative condition which falls under the umbrella of motor neurone disease, and can affect the muscles, bones and brain. 

“As time progresses, gradually those little things you used to be able to do, now you have to rely on family and friends,” Terry said. 

“Less than 1000 people worldwide with this disease, there’s a handful in Australia and three of them are here in Inverell,” Terry’s friend Fay Butcher explained. 

To find out more about the fundraisers or offer your services to the cause, call Dallas on 6722 1134 or 04 3822 1134.