Please help Damiana retain her independence
Every day Damiana battles to overcome many challenges, but a lack of money is is undermining all her efforts to stay independent.Nationwide
Damiana Day is a young woman who was born with dyslexia, autism, and dyspraxia, which causes difficulty in activities requiring physical coordination and movement. The problems presented by these disabilities have been worsened by at least 7 damaging head injuries, a diagnosis of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, and a new, undiagnosed medical issue that is making unaided walking increasingly difficult.
With only $250 a week from her benefit, life is sparse for Damiana and renting a physically-suitable room or house would be impractical, lonely and unaffordable. Many people in situations like Damiana’s end up living on the streets, with all the problems that come from such a tough situation.
But, rather than sitting around and ‘rusting away’ getting depressed, Damiana has chosen to try and get the most out of life by spending the last 10 years living on the road, cycling thousands of kilometres along the highways and byways of New Zealand on her distinctive pink recumbent tricycle, and camping by night in local campgrounds. Often she plans her journeys so that she can help local charities run events, always willing to lend a hand to the best of her abilities. She has raised funds for Heart Kids in the past and once rode the length of NZ for head injury awareness, Most recently she provided a lot of volunteer help for the Rotorua Bike Festival.
Although Damiana can just about ‘get by’ on her meagre income, there is seldom anything left over once food, campground costs and medical affairs are paid for. This is becoming a serious problem now that her recumbent bike will soon need replacement (a new axle alone cost over $400 late last year) she is facing winter with a leaking tent, and recently had her solar phone charger stolen from her bike’s trailer. Check out the recent updates on this page to learn of her recent leg problems and new life using a wheelchair). https://lifeontheroadbybikeandonwheels.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR3QJg8nYhTUzqPfh2HEeu45fdExWkSeXzWWFRaYuQpYCOIe3rbwhugzqRw
So Damiana, who makes the most of a bad deal, is facing the loss of her tent ‘home’; the only mode of transport she can use; and the ability to keep in contact with the rest of the world. Funding for people in Damiana’s position is not readily available, as the charities that provide help for disabled people focus mainly on children and sports.
When so many able-bodied people do so little with their lives, Damiana is an inspiration in how she refuses to give up, and how she bravely makes the most of life in whatever way she can – even volunteering her services where she can.
We are seeking up to $10,000 so that Damiana can afford what she needs to stay independent and on the road: a new bike (and the ability to maintain it); a new, winter-suited waterproof tent; a lightweight foldable wheelchair she can take with her; and a new solar charger to replace the one that was stolen from her.
Damiana has a good heart, and so we are hoping that other good-hearted Kiwis will respect the life she is trying to live, against all odds. Those odds have got really tough lately – let’s make her life substantially easier.
Jonathan Dodd's involvement
I am an acquaintance of Damiana who got to know her through her help with the Rotorua Bike Festival (which I help run), and subsequently on social media, following her travels and thoughts from day to day. I have been moved to create this page after seeing how her financial and physical challenges have been getting worse, and finally thinking "something has to be done".
Use of funds
We are seeking up to $10,000 so that Damiana can afford a new recumbent bike (and the ability to maintain it); a new, winter-suited waterproof tent; a lightweight foldable wheelchair she can take with her; and a solar charger to replace the stolen one.
Damiana has now been out of Waikato Hospital for a fortnight and getting used to using the wheelchair that she had to buy with Givealittle money (she can't walk but is not eligible for a publicly funded wheelchair, which is pretty insane). She cannot walk on her feet but can get around on her knees, which helps as she learns to transition between her trike and her wheelchair. As pedalling is a controlled, repetitive movement she can cycle (most of the time) but has had to buy more equipment for her trike to compensate for weaker legs. Her 'let's just work out a solution' attitude is commendable, but the unanticipated need to buy a wheelchair has taken away the funds still required to keep her trike roadworthy. Her updated blog can be read here: https://lifeontheroadbybikeandonwheels.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR3QJg8nYhTUzqPfh2HEeu45fdExWkSeXzWWFRaYuQpYCOIe3rbwhugzqRw
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This page was created on 7 Apr 2019 and closes on 7 Apr 2020.
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