Angus Hopkins, one year on after getting his wheelchair.
Angus Hopkins, one year on after getting his wheelchair.

Angus Hopkins’ life transformed by chair in one year

ANGUS Hopkins now barely resembles the boy his mother Jody Ezzy remembered from a year ago, before he received his motorised wheelchair.

The Nobby boy, who has cerebral palsy, was being pulled around in a wheelbarrow 12 months ago, and facing a two-year wait for a new chair from the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

"The chair has just changed Gus' life," Ms Ezzy said, reflecting on the journey she took to get her son what he deserved.

"It's been an interesting 12 months, but we wouldn't have survived without that chair."

Thanks to a national media campaign that started with The Chronicle's original article, the NDIS approved Angus' $26,000 chair within days and it arrived in late June.

Now enjoying a new-found independence from his mother, Angus takes the chair out across the family's property, takes part in school sports programs and can freely explore his interests and hobbies.

Ms Ezzy said she no longer feared for her son's development, now he had the opportunity to live more like an able-bodied child.

"Life's been up and down, but as for the stuff with the chair and NDIS, it's been life-changing," she said.

"His personality and independence has grown so much.

"Even day to day (has changed) - he plays netball with kids, played footy at a footy coaching day, and competed in the sports day at school.

"It's certainly changed his life - he went from being a very gregarious child who then withdrew and that (spark) has come out again.

"He wants to go to uni and study history, and become a historian."

Ms Ezzy said the NDIS had also become far easier to work with, saying she was pleased with how helpful they had become.

"There are still some issues with the NDIS, but our experience has been very good since that blow-up," she said.

"Our plan is very good - we'll see how it goes, because his new physio wants him in a standing frame, so we'll see how we go with getting that."

Angus Hopkins, from Nobby working with Belinda Bell from Toowoomba Kids Physiotherapy. In 2019, Angus finally received a wheelchair through NDIS after months of haggling, his wheelchair finally was supplied thanks to stories in The Chronicle. Twelve months on, Angus is mobile and able to take part in a variety of activities. Photo Bev Lacey
Angus Hopkins, from Nobby working with Belinda Bell from Toowoomba Kids Physiotherapy. In 2019, Angus finally received a wheelchair through NDIS after months of haggling, his wheelchair finally was supplied thanks to stories in The Chronicle. Twelve months on, Angus is mobile and able to take part in a variety of activities. Photo Bev Lacey

Belinda Bell, who works with Angus at Toowoomba Kids Physiotherapy, has been helping him to work different parts of his body through fun games and a pulley system within a cage that isolates muscles in his body.

Some exercises involve suspending Angus completely in the air, much to his delight.

"Just like going to the gym, you do leg presses, and we can do a leg press here with Gus," Ms Bell said.

"We can use (the cage) to isolate different muscles but we can also put it into a functional movement as well."

Angus Hopkins, from Nobby gives his mother, Jody Ezzy a hug while working with Belinda Bell from Toowoomba Kids Physiotherapy. In 2019, Angus finally received a wheelchair through NDIS after months of haggling, his wheelchair finally was supplied thanks to stories in The Chronicle. Twelve months on, Angus is mobile and able to take part in a variety of activities. Photo Bev Lacey
Angus Hopkins, from Nobby gives his mother, Jody Ezzy a hug while working with Belinda Bell from Toowoomba Kids Physiotherapy. In 2019, Angus finally received a wheelchair through NDIS after months of haggling, his wheelchair finally was supplied thanks to stories in The Chronicle. Twelve months on, Angus is mobile and able to take part in a variety of activities. Photo Bev Lacey