How local businesses transformed the Harris family's lives
WHAT started as a fundraiser for a wooden ramp has turned into a $100,000 home transformation for the Eli Waters family of Aedan Harris, who lives with cerebral palsy.
Aedan's parents Donna and Cameron have been fundraising in the community since 2014, through their charity Aedan's Crusade.
About a year ago, the Harrises were nominated by Fraser Coast charity Rally for a Cause to pay for a new wooden ramp to bridge a height difference between the Harris house and their backyard. Without the ramp, it was difficult for Aedan to wheel himself outside.
When Mick Irwin and Jason Wiegmink from Rally for a Cause went out to the Harrises' home in Eli Waters, they saw a lot more work that could be done around the property to make the family's life much easier.
Mr Irwin said the family told himself and Jason about their 10-year plan for their home and yard, which included a hydrotherapy pool to help Aedan's development.
"We said 'we can get this done', so we did the survey, we got a friend to do the design, everyone put up their hand to do this and that and the whole project really transformed from there," Mr Irwin said.
So when Woollam Constructions asked at a Rally for Cause meeting if there were any charities in that could benefit from some new construction work, they were asked if they could help the Harris family.
Since the project began, more than 60 Fraser Coast businesses have jumped on board to help the Hervey Bay family; donating about $100,000 in time, equipment and construction work.
The construction began at the beginning of February and in just four weeks, the Harrises' backyard has been turned into the perfect, developmental playground for young Aedan.
The yard now includes a pool from Barrier Reef Pools, worth about $26,000 and a chairlift to help Aedan get into the water.
Mr Harris said the transformation was "like winning the lotto".
"Every day it's felt like someone else had donated something, or was doing some new work outside," Mr Harris said.
"It honestly leaves you speechless, and just goes to show how supportive people and businesses around here are." Concrete areas have been built between the pool, a swing, gardens and a sandpit to make it easier for Aedan to move around.