‘I’m scared, I can’t stand up anymore, Mummy’: How Jack’s plight touched SA realtors
AN Adelaide mum’s private shoutout to friends for help to find suitable rental accommodation for her family, which includes a young son with a heartbreaking and worsening health condition, has reached many more than she ever intended it to.
And it’s spurred the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) to reimagine how properties in this state might be advertised.
Shelley Pomeroy’s 12-year-old son, Jack, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy which leads to the progressive weakening and wasting of his muscles, meaning the family needs to find a home with wheelchair access and a bathroom big enough for a shower chair.
“Muscular dystrophy is a progressive condition — six months ago Jack was able to stand for short periods, and to get from his wheelchair to the couch but he has lost the ability to do so,” she said.
“We’ve always known his condition would get worse but weren’t prepared for him to deteriorate so quickly. He’ll be 13 (in May) and we want him to be as independent as possible, for as long as possible.
“MD is a life-shortening illness … all the muscles that move your body just slowly waste away.
“Jack has gone downhill really, really quickly in just the past few weeks and is saying, ‘I’m scared, I can’t stand up anymore, Mummy’.”
Mrs Pomeroy says the family is keen to stay in their current neighbourhood, to allow Jack, who also has autism, to stay at school in Grange.
“So, I thought I would just put something on Facebook to ask friends if they knew of anywhere suitable,” she said.
“One friend asked if I would mind making the post public, so others could share it, and the next moment I was getting messages from all over Adelaide from strangers offering help — everything from offers to build Jack a ramp to help us move, when we found something.”
The post was shared more than 220 times in a week.
“I am a very proud kind of a person and I find it hard to accept help from others,” Mrs Pomeroy said.
“The response we’ve received has been phenomenal … from so many people we didn’t even know.”
Mrs Pomeroy said it could be difficult for families like hers, who don’t qualify for low-income rentals and don’t own a home — a situation confirmed by several real estate agents who got in contact after seeing the post.
“You can get assistance from the NDIS to make modifications to your home, if you own it,” she said.
REISA president Brett Roenfeldt said the industry was aware of the difficulty facing families such as the Pomeroys, especially in older rental properties.
In response, he has raised the idea of devising a wheelchair-friendly icon that could go on online and print marketing material to help consumers.
“It is something I see value in discussing with agents, the REA Group and Domain,” Mr Roenfeldt says.