The plight of a Gold Coast girl with a rare muscular condition has inspired the support of a Griffith University graduate, two international students and the Gold Coast Community Fund. Their aim is to raise enough money to buy a life-changing special vehicle.
Seven-year-old Izzabelle Burns lives with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, an exceptionally disabling condition that involves joint contracture in two or more areas of the body. Its devastating impact is similar to that of quadriplegia.
Izzy’s grandparents, Stephen and Kerri-Lee Burns, are her prime carers and while they have embraced the role with love and dedication, the challenges are many. One of the biggest is transport.
“On school days, Izzy travels with her grandmother while her motorised wheelchair follows behind in a maxi taxi,” says Gold Coast Community Fund coordinator Mr Malcolm Tucker, who graduated from Griffith with a Bachelor of Information Technology in 2002.
“The cost of the maxi taxi is incredibly burdensome for Stephen and Kerri-Lee, which is why we’re hoping to raise $45,000 to help buy a specialised vehicle so that Izzy can be driven by her grandparents to school each day and on other outings, just as every seven-year-old would enjoy.”
International students Daniel Igoe and Joseph Corsentino became involved with the project while at Griffith in 2017 as part of the Study Abroad program. From Ryder University in New Jersey, the pair compiled a video that can be found on the Transport for Izzabelle fundraising page at chuffed.org.
“Through their care of Izzy, Stephen and Kerri-Lee have been blessed to see her grow every day and witness just how special and how intelligent she really is,” says Malcolm.
“Izzy will go into Year 2 at Oxenford State School next year and it would be wonderful to make things easier for her and her grandparents.”
The Gold Coast Community Fund is an incorporated body that was established in early 2000 by some of the city’s leading business figures.