Community rallying to bring Eliza home

November 19, 2021 BY

More than $20,000 of the $150,000 target was raised within 24 hours as people rallied around Eliza and her family.

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.


Eliza McGowan was sporty and high functioning before the diagnosis of a rare medical condition when she was nine years old.


“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.”


Eliza pictured before the diagnosis while a student at St Therese primary school.


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.”


A specialised wheelchair-friendly extension to the family home will enable Eliza to have her own space at home.


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.


More than $20,000 of the $150,000 target was raised within 24 hours as people rallied around 18-year-old Eliza and her family.


“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.

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