Story & photos Eve Jeffery
Jasper Mills from Ocean Shores was born with health issues as the result of a twin-to-twin transfusion in utero. Jasper’s life has been a hard fought struggle since the day he was born, but now some of the struggle is over. At just two years of age, Jasper has inspired men to move mountains, well, at least large tracts of earth.
Since Echonetdaily first met Jasper and his parents Nadine and Anthony last July, the family has tenaciously taken everyone’s hand that has been offered and managed to obtain a much-needed Giger machine to help exercise Jasper. The other major therapy must have was a heated hydrotherapy spa pool, one of the few places that Jasper can relax his muscles enough to move them freely, but the pool and the essential landscaping seemed out of reach.
Enter good mate and super dude Mark Bateson from Lawn and Order. Mark decided to see if he could get a few tradie mates in to help out. He wanted to get enough workers to install a spa pool the couple had managed to buy from Endless Spas at cost price, and put it in the ground so Jasper could start using it.
As these things go, a mate knew a mate who knew a bloke and building contractor John Montgomery managed to get in the ear of Today Tonight show journalist Adam Marshall who set a mighty great ball in motion. What ensued was an extreme makeover to the nth degree.
It was suggested to the family that they go away on Thursday for a three-day break so an excavator could come in and dig the hole in their yard for the pool. When they arrived home on Sunday, the area had been transformed into a paradise, including landscape gardening, decking, a verandah and outdoor furniture and accessories as well as the spa pool compete with solar heating.
‘I was completely overwhelmed and flabbergasted when I saw what they did’, says Nadine. ‘I was lost for words.’
Anthony was close to tears as Adam and the film crew led him along what was once the precarious pathway to the front door. He was full of praise for the many local men and women who volunteered time and materials.
‘For me, they didn’t only change our lives by giving us an outdoor area for Jasper’s therapy’, he said. ‘They gave us hope for the future and showed us that love can really move mountains!’
Over 50 local trades donated hours of time to get the project ready. ‘We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for making our lives a bit easier and helping Jasper have a brighter future’, says Nadine. ‘Paul Newman from Porkys Digger, Jarrah Davidson plumbing, Byron and Beyond Fencing, Cole from Choppy Chop, Charlie’s Building Supplies, Ocean Shores Bakery, Butcher and Coles, Leisurescapes Byron, TGE Painters and Concreters, Masters Home Improvements who donated close to $30,000 in materials and of course Mark and Monty, the list of wonderful people is almost endless.’
The family still has a long way to go, Nadine and Anthony’s wish that their son not just survive, but be the best he can be is an ongoing process. ‘Therapy for Jasper will always be ongoing and will always come at a high cost’, says Nadine. ‘Unfortunately anything with the word “disability” on it comes with a huge price tag. For now, we have everything he needs for the next few years to do intensive therapy at home. Jasper and I no longer need to endure a 40 minute one-way torturous car ride to get to the hydrotherapy pool. He now swims four times a day for 30 minutes and is completely relaxed. He sleeps better, eats better, poops better and has, in general, a better sense of wellbeing. This has literally changed our lives. The spa is solar heated thanks to the guys at SAE solar – if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to afford to run it.’
There is one more important item on Jasper Mills’ wish list. Jasper’s parents hope that in the not too distant future they will be able to access TheraSuit technology. The TheraSuit is a biomechanical suit that is used to increase feedback to the brain and enhance purposeful movement. It is the cutting edge therapeutic technique for the treatment of Cerebral Palsy. Seen recently in a 60 Minutes story http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8660309, the cost is $6,000 for a six-week treatment in the suit, for the moment this is out of reach, but for now, the family is so grateful they can enjoy the benefits of being able do hydrotherapy at home.
Anthony and Nadine feel renewed after the show of love from the community. ‘That feeling of hope is one of the few things in life that are priceless!’
A full list of tradies and a link to the program once it has aired will be available on Jasper’s Facebook page: The Jasper Mills Appeal. https://www.facebook.com/thejaspermillsappeal