What has happened over the last 12 months?
It’s been 12 months since our last website update on Ben’s VW Multivan. At that time, the Space Drive Technology modification process was about to commence at the modifier’s Hornsby Heights premises in Sydney. An integral part of that process involved custom fitting Ben’s power wheelchair to the control system positioning so he could comfortably access existing VW controls.
The process was finally completed at the end of October 2018 and Ben successfully re-applied for his driving licence at the local RMS testing centre in early November.
The impact on Ben’s independence after six and a half years having to rely on others was significant. It’s been a fascinating experience observing Ben drive this highly modified vehicle from the comfort of the passenger seat. As a parent, this was initially a nervous experience however Ben’s driving style made me feel at ease.
Driving has been a bit of a roller-coaster experience to date and sadly the vehicle was involved in an accident in early February 2019. I was Ben’s passenger on that day on the NSW central coast. Luckily no one was physically injured.
The repair process was complicated, lengthy and expensive. Repair delays were frequently coupled with the fact that some of the replacement VW parts had to be sent to Victoria for further modification, to be able to operate in a modified vehicle. We received the van back in early September with minor issues still outstanding, however this didn’t stop Ben from getting out and about.
We planned to upload a video of Ben driving with the Space Drive Technology onto the Ben Lipski Foundation website in February 2019. Due to the accident, this has been delayed until now. Without this recently available technology, Ben wouldn’thave the capacity to drive again.
Stamp Collection Donation
In order to benefit Ben and to partly assist with the running costs of the Multivan, the family of a former neighbour have kindly donated a stamp collection from their father’s estate. These stamps are being progressively sold and currently, around $350 has been raised and donated to the Foundation. The progress total will be updated overtime, depending on stamp sales. Thanks to our former neighbours and to the buyers of the stamps.
Independence is something that we all take for granted. Ben’s next challenge is to identify suitable residential unit accommodation to allow him to live independently. The supply of suitable properties is somewhat limited given Ben’s access. requirements. To name a few essential requirements – it has to preferably be a ground level unit due to property gradient / slope restrictions or in a unit complex with a lift, internal access width requirements, under cover parking access that suitably accommodates the Multivan side access, etc.
Once a suitable property has been identified, some rooms will require significant modification to cater for Ben’s accessibility requirements, especially the bathroom and kitchen. The installation of assistive technology such as a home automation system, door openers, a temperature controlled environment, a height adjustable desk, rubber ramps, etc will also be required.
We thank everyone for their ongoing kind support and will keep you informed of developments during 2020.
Please be aware that for those wishing to donate to the foundation these can be made via the www.blf.org.au website and are tax deductible.