Follow-up: Oz-based whānau staying positive

By Kelvin McDonald
Tyson with his sisters, Hunter, Kiara (nursing Tyson), Indi and Lani. Photo/Supplied.

Three-year-old Tyson Lawrence's Perth-based whānau are remaining positive they can muster the support needed for their high-needs tamaiti. 

In February, Te Ao reached out to the whānau of Tyson, who suffered a stroke at birth that left him with severe brain damage.


His mother, Laura Lawrence, who is raising Tyson and his four older sisters on her own, had set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a new vehicle to transport Tyson to appointments as their current vehicle is "unreliable and keeps breaking down".

It's also too old to qualify for Australian government-funded modifications that would make it easier to get Tyson in and out of the vehicle.

Lawrence says Tyson, who is non-verbal and wheelchair-bound, has been diagnosed with "severe cerebral palsy, spastic and dyskinetic quadriplegia, global development delay, left-sided hearing loss, cerebral vision impairment [and] gross and fine motor skill delay."

Tyson and mum Laura Lawrence. Photo/Supplied.

Since Te Ao was last in touch, the whānau have been successful in raising almost $5,000 toward their $15,000 target and are confident they can reach their goal.  

"We still have no car yet but we are keeping positive in the hopes that no matter what, it will happen eventually," says Lawrence.

The Te Rarawa mum says she's appreciative of the support they have received and has some ideas about how the whānau can make up the difference.

"I have spoken to a few different ladies that work with Tyson and there may be a few different agencies or charities that can help with some funding towards the car," she says, "so that's a bonus."  

Lawrence says Tyson's therapy team has also assisted her to obtain "the maximum funding required for his complex needs" through Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Unfortunately, the NDIS does not provide funds for the purchase of new vehicles.

"They can only help with the [vehicle] modification side of things, which is great, but for that I still need a car that's [a 2010 model] and above."


While the whānau will have to wait to see whether any agencies or charities will help them, Lawrence says they are humbled by people's generosity.

"At the end of the day, I'm very grateful to have received what we raised so far and if that's what I have to give then I'm happy with that," she says.

Lawrence says she was reluctant to reach out to strangers for help but felt compelled to as a mother.

"I don't like asking for help," she says, "But sometimes when you're not in any situation to do it yourself and it's something your child needs, then as any parent [would.]  You go above and beyond to try get it."

Click here to support Tyson.