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KIM's STORY

“I’d raced motocross for 11 years, had a state title for BMX, I played off a 4 handicap at golf. I was very sporty,” recalls Kim Graham. “So to suddenly discover I had this thing called MS was a kick in the guts.”

Kim lives in the small wheatbelt town of Kondinin and has been living with multiple sclerosis since 2001. He was initially diagnosed when pins and needles started to spread through his legs. These days, he’s lost use of his legs completely and relies on a wheelchair to get around. Kim is keen to point out that – being a devoted Fremantle Dockers fan – his wheelchair is purple.

A country boy through-and-through, Kim spent most of his days working on farms. He now lives in the local retirement village, with a care worker who comes in to help him to dress, shower and do chores.

Now in his fifties, Kim’s trademark good-humour and charisma are still going strong. He is a popular and regular visitor to MSWA’s Margaret Doody Respite House in City Beach. On his last visit, MSWA staff arranged for him to try the ParaGolfer chair at Wembley Golf Course. Kim explains how it felt to swing a golf stick for the first time in 20 years. “It felt wicked,” he says with a grin. “I had tears in my eyes.”

“I’ve still got my old golf sticks in my living room. I clean them regularly, and I’ll look at them and say ‘one day I’ll get to swing you again’.”

However, Kim is realistic about the future. “The MS is getting worse. It’s harder and harder to live by myself.”

Kim’s sister lives on a farm near Bluff Knoll, so when she heard that MSWA was building a new $7m residential facility in Albany she began making enquiries about getting Kim on the waitlist for one of the 10 high-support accommodation units that will be available in 2022.

Pending NDIS approval, Kim could soon move into his own unit, with access to onsite 24/7 support, as well being next door to MSWA’s newest state-of-the-art Services Centre. The thought of such easy access to physiotherapy, the Outreach group, nursing and occupational therapy is comforting to Kim.

The milder Albany summers and being closer to his sister and her family are also a draw.

Whilst Kim is saddened by the thought of leaving his close-knit community, he is grateful that a move to high-support accommodation in Albany might be possible, and that MSWA can continue to support him in the years to come. He winks as he says, “Tell ‘em to paint one room purple and I’ll have that one!”

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