Community rallying to bring Eliza home
The Torquay community is rallying around a fundraiser to pay for expensive home modifications that will enable teenager Eliza McGowan to live with her family rather than in hospital.
A GoFundMe page established this week by three local women aims to raise $150,000 to cover the cost of a house extension incorporating a specialised bathroom and bedroom area for Eliza who requires a wheelchair and 24-hour medical care.
Eliza, 18, is the daughter of local police officer Jason and his wife Fiona and she is the third of five children in the much-loved local family.
At the age of nine the vibrant and athletic youngster was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurodegenerative autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain.
“Eliza (Lizey) McGowan went from being a high functioning, healthy, active nine-year-old girl, to now an 18-year-old who requires extensive 24-hour medical care and has lost all mobility,” the fundraising page explains.
“Over the years, Eliza’s health has rapidly deteriorated to the point of needing specialised medical care and equipment.
“For this reason, Eliza has spent a lot of time over the past nine years, and more recently, over the last few months in hospital.
“As you can imagine, this has been extremely stressful both financially and emotionally for Eliza’s beautiful family.”
The fundraiser – organised by Emma Crocker, Melissa Page and Jodie Diamond – raised more than $20,000 in the first 24 hours and others answered the call for help with trades, labour and materials.
“As you would appreciate, most family homes aren’t built for wheelchairs,” Emma said.
“They also need hoists to move from Eliza from the bed to the chair.”
Emma said the McGowans had never asked for help but they were a most deserving family and the immediate response to the fundraiser showed how much they are loved.
“This is all we can do. We are asking the community as a whole to come together to make this happen ASAP,” Emma said.
“Nothing will change Eliza’s condition but it’s about what we can do to make their life easier.
“To reach the fundraising goal and most importantly, to get Eliza back with her family where she belongs as soon as possible, that is the goal.”
To donate search ‘Eliza’s Home Modification’ on the GoFundMe website.
Anyone in a position to offer their time, expertise or help in any other way is also encouraged to contact Emma on 0403 127 930, Melissa on 0424 511 513 or Jodie on 0411 574 240.