WHEEL OF FORTUNE: It's a joyous time for the Harding family, who were given a specially fit-out car from Toyota Lismore.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE: It's a joyous time for the Harding family, who were given a specially fit-out car from Toyota Lismore. Jasmine Burke

'Amazing' generosity gives hope to family of six

MOST people wouldn't think twice about being able to drive long distances with their family for holidays, or even trips into town together, but for one family it wasn't even a possibility.

Yesterday was an emotional but joyous time for the Harding family, Lismore, who were given a vehicle decked out for their family of six, including their four-year-old-son, who requires around-the-clock care due to a rare degenerative muscular condition.

Mother, Richelle Harding said Nicolas was officially diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 2 (SMARD) in August last year, but his condition worsened significantly a few months later.

The severe neuromuscular condition has only been seen in about 100 people worldwide and for Nicholas, requires life-long support.

Last year he was swimming, attending pre-school and loving spending time with his siblings but months ago become ventilator dependant and wheelchair-reliant, which fits his breathing machine.

Part of the struggle meant that the Harding's needed to find a new vehicle which could be modified to fit the wheelchair.

Toyota Lismore with assistance from Magenta community services, Tramanco and Northcott Ballina, came through with a Hiace van, and even had it modified.

"I just don't know how they did it but they just made it appear and magically said 'here have some money, we will get you this car and on the road and get Nicolas in a chair', which he needs to be in for his respiratory health," Mrs Harding said.

"We are blown away completely by this amazing thing they've done."

"Toyota spoke to the modifiers and helped reduce the price of fitting out the car.

"It means we'll be able to hang out as a family and go further than just down town with Nicolas in his wheelchair, and we will be able to enjoy our school holidays a lot more and go further afield while we enjoy the time Nicolas has with us."


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