“IT’S an answer to prayer,” a Brisbane mother-of-six said when her family took delivery of a special mobility vehicle during the week.
Mehret Mahari had been hoping and praying for this vehicle since her youngest child Sara, 13, was released from hospital after a backyard accident had left the schoolgirl with severe disability.
Sustaining brain injury in the accident in September 2016, Sara has been unable to walk, talk or eat.
Mehret and her husband Meskel knew, that with the cost of special taxis being so expensive, they would need a mobility vehicle to take Sara to medical appointments, school, church or anywhere else with the rest of the family, but that was out of their reach.
Parishes in Toowoomba and Brisbane, and the St Vincent de Paul Society came to their aid.
St Thomas More’s Parish in Toowoomba initiated an appeal to raise money to buy the vehicle because the Maharis had been much-loved parishioners there.
Originally from Eritrea, the family lived in the parish for three years after migrating from Sudan in 2013.
The St Vincent de Paul Society of Brisbane Northern Suburbs came on board, and parishioners at the Maharis’ Brisbane parish at Bracken Ridge and the Brisbane Eritrean community chipped in.
From October to the end of December last year, they raised the $37,000 needed, with one donor giving $10,000.
“I’m so happy,” Mehret said on the day the vehicle arrived.
“This is special for Sara.
“I want to say thank you. I say thank you to everyone (who supported the appeal).”
When asked what would be the first trip in the car, Mehret smiled and said, “to the church to get Fr Gerry (Hefferan, Bracken Ridge parish priest) to bless the car for Sara”.
“Then maybe to the shops – we haven’t been able to do that,” she said.
“And maybe the movies,” one of Sara’s older sisters Zina said.
“She’s not had a chance to go to the movies.
“It also will be easier to go to hospital appointments, when you want to go.”
Mehret said she would also look forward to taking Sara to the beach.
“In summer time we were trying to take her to the beach but sometimes it’s hard,” she said.
She said Sara liked the beach but it cost $42 to $45 one way for the 4.5km trip to Shorncliffe.
“I hope we will be able to go to Toowoomba soon too,” Mehret said.
Friends from St Thomas More’s Parish Mary and Peter Taylor and Madonna Wills made a special trip from Toowoomba to be with the Maharis when the mobility vehicle was delivered.
They have been supporting the family since Sara’s tragic accident and have regularly visited since the Maharis moved to Brisbane.
The St Vincent de Paul Society’s Brisbane Northern Suburbs Regional Council president Don Gore was also there for the vehicle handover.
“It was satisfying to be able to help a family in desperate need after a tragic accident,” Mr Gore said.
“It’s been a long journey but we got there.”