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Byron Shire
March 5, 2024

Disability worker saving lives – on her birthday

Latest News

They’re wild and they’re back!

Wild Marmalade return to the Beach Hotel this week for a free Sunday session – if you don’t know Wild Marmalade then you are in for a treat. The world’s original didgeridoo and drum band certainly know how to spin the dial to 11 and get the high vibes rolling. They will be joined by Tijuana Cartel front man and guitar virtuoso, Paul A George; this is sure to be an epic afternoon of groove.

Other News

Byron Bay cyclists take on Yamba road race

Two Byron Bay Cycle Club (BBCC) members joined riders from the Clarence Valley for Yamba Cycling Club’s first road...

Editorial – Grab the popcorn and bean bags

Both Mayor Michael Lyon and fellow councillor, Mark Swivel, offered an apology to the followers of the Save Wallum Facebook page last week.

Everyone reads The Echo!

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: We Need to Talk about Birth

Birth is magical. It is powerful and wild and beautiful and scary and miraculous. Until it’s not. When things go to shit, it happens fast and when your baby dies, your life is changed forever, but not in the way you were expecting.

New Tweed Regional Gallery shows celebrate diversity

Four new exhibitions interrogating ideas of self through the use of portraiture, movement and the body will be on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery as part of the gallery’s Autumn exhibition series.

Rifle Range Road upgrade about to start

It’s a project that has endured many delays, but Byron Shire Council says the upgrade of Rifle Range Road at Bangalow is finally due to start in early April.

Eve Jeffery

There’s isolation and there’s isolation.

For most folk, isolation means just doing the right thing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

For some folk, the very old, the very young, people with some pre-existing conditions and many people with a disability, isolation is a matter of life or death, and making sure they are truly isolated holds a greater weight for them.

People with disabilities

Meet Ballina couple, Kelly and Gordy.

Kelly, Gordy and the couple’s teenage son Liam, are a pretty normal family – but there’s one thing that makes Kelly’s family different – they are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Kelly has muscular dystrophy and Gordy has a spinal cord injury. They have needed to cancel the workers who would come and go each day. The high amount of traffic in their home increased the likelihood of the couple being exposed to the virus.

What they needed was someone to come and live in their home, 24/7, someone who was prepared to have no contact with the outside world and someone to make sure everything is sterilised, clean and safe and that anything that comes inside the house is safe to touch. 

It’s Lia’s birthday today.

Meet Lia

Lia has had a lot of cool jobs. She has travelled the world – she has worked on a medical marijuana farm in America and had a job canning salmon in Alaska – but looking after Kelly and Gordy is one of the most important jobs Lia’s ever had, at least, to Kelly and Gordy.

Lia’s helping keep a family safe – she’s keeping them alive.

Lia has worked on and off for Kelly for many years. Kelly travels a lot in her work as a disability advocate, fighting for the rights of disabled people. They’ve had a lot of adventures. From sharing the disappointment of election night to going to the Sydney Mardi Gras, Lia has been a friend as well as a support worker. 

A big commitment

It’s a big commitment to look after a family, 24/7, for the duration.

Anyone who comes into the house could bring in a virus that could kill our family,’ says Kelly. With our son Liam, we are cut off from the world – our four walls are all we will see until it is safe again. 

People’s lives are complicated, but disabled people’s lives are more complicated than most.

‘To make sure the food that is delivered from outside is safe, Lia washes down every single item. She’s taken on nurse duties – Gordy has developed a pressure wound that needs regular dressing. And today, she became a jack of all trades when a drain was blocked.

Good support workers hate the idea that they are saints or martyrs when they are just doing a regular job. Disabled people hate it too. But Lia isn’t doing a regular job right now.

‘Despite the pay and her job description, she’s choosing to remove herself from the rest of the world, except for a daily walk with our little dog, Bear. 

A labour of love

That’s an act of friendship as well as a job. It’s a labour of love.

‘There are a lot of disabled people who won’t come out the other side of this pandemic and not everybody is lucky enough to have a Lia in their life. It’s a pretty big responsibility to support a disabled person at the best of times, but taking on this role means something extra.

‘Today is Lia’s birthday. She’s turning 30. She knew when she committed to our family that she would not be celebrating today.

‘This woman who is so loved and so full of life, chose to devote her time and energy to us – the only way we could think of thanking her was bringing those who love her, to our house, online.

‘Happy Birthday Lia, from all of us’.


Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

COVID-19 update for New South Wales

Let’s not forget that Covid-19 is still a big issue in our community with 31,935 cases reported across Australia in the last week – an average of 4,562 cases per day.

9

Five graphs you need to see before the Global Carbon Budget...

The Global Carbon Budget is about to be refreshed, giving the world a critical insight into how efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are (or are not) progressing.

2

Public transport mask mandate to end

Masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport from tomorrow, Wednesday 21 September.

1

NSW Police: be COVID-vigilant at Splendour in the Grass

SW Police are urging festival-goers at this weekend’s music festival to celebrate in a safe and responsible manner, whilst also being aware of COVID-Safety measures.

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COVID-19 update for the NNSWLHD – May 23

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 4pm yesterday, Sunday May 22, there were 40 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital in Northern NSW, with one of these in ICU.

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AEC says COVID voters can phone from home

The AEC says that voters who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to phone in their vote in the federal election.

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COVID-19 update: May 16

The Northern NSW Local Health District says that to 4pm yesterday, 15 May, 384 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the District, including 82 positive PCR tests and 302 positive rapid antigen tests.

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It’s National Volunteer Week

Volunteering Australia says volleys are the backbone of the country in times of crisis and emergency.

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They’re just a Teenage Fanclub, baby

Teenage Fanclub will return to Australia in March performing their first live shows down under since 2019. The renowned Glasgow five-piece – led by founding members Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley, with drummer Francis Macdonald, bassist Dave McGowan and keyboardist Euros Childs – will perform in Byron Bay on Tuesday, 12 March. The tour celebrates the band’s upcoming 12th studio album, Nothing Lasts Forever – set for release in September.

Interview with L.A.B ahead of Bluesfest

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Byron Bay cyclists take on Yamba road race

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Byron Bay set to play Lennox Head to decide second-grade premiership

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